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Top Story World and Story Bible Tips

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When we create a story world for readers, we are implanting images and sensory details. From which, the reader fills in the gaps. If we skew that world in any way, we pull the reader out of their base model. And ultimately, out of the story itself.

Examples of Oopsies:

  • blue eyes turn brown
  • a limp or lisp mysteriously vanishes
  • the sun rises outside the west-facing window
  • an ocean appears in the middle of the desert
  • the MC’s house has hardwood floors, yet in the previous book they had wall-to-wall carpeting

Creating a fictional world requires creativity, consistency, and attention to detail.

10 Tips to Ensure a Smooth Transition from One Book to Another

Create an overarching series bible and a story bible for individual book(s). The story bible contains things like:

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  • Description of main characters, including the correct spelling of their names
  • Description and names of secondary characters
  • Description of villains, including epithets (if applicable)
  • Victim profiles (if important)
  • Characters’ professions
  • Killer(s) MO and/or signature (if applicable)
  • Pets, including deceased pets (if applicable)
  • Tattoos or piercings
  • Scars—emotional and physical
  • Favorite jewelry
  • Marital status/relationships
  • Important dates (birthdays/anniversaries)
  • Family ties
  • Themes
  • Setting
  • Backstory
  • Housing
  • Favorite scent (cologne/perfume/shampoo/body spray/lotion)
  • Accent (if any)
  • Home décor and architecture
  • Cherished treasures/family heirlooms
  • Timelines
  • Main plots
  • Subplots
  • Future scene ideas

In the story bible for each book, focus on minute details. Did you describe the MC’s home? Include the passage. Does the MC read a lot? Include book titles, if mentioned in the novel. Did you describe the town or the MC’s favorite breakfast joint? Include the passage.

The series bible should include details about the story world and generalized descriptions of the characters.

No need to repeat the descriptions of main and secondary characters unless they’ve changed in some way i.e., MC got a small ankle tattoo in the last book. Or she now has a scarred cheek from an automobile accident. Breast implants, liposuction, collagen lips, Botox, or other plastic surgery.

Do include theme, subplot, setting, ringtones, pets, updated backstory to include previous books, new characters, new fears, or old traumas resurfacing, new or perfected skills, favorite foods, favorite cocktail(s), food allergies, jobs, etc. etc. etc.

We forget. A lot. With multiple books in a series, our recall worsens. If we write in more than one series, it’s even easier to forget minute details.

Tips to Create Story Worlds

  • Establish a Core Concept
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    What is the concept or theme? Is the book set in a post-apocalyptic world? Dystopian future? Historical time? When are where does the story take place? Even if you never include the month or year in the WIP, knowing the approximate date helps to establish weather patterns, sunrise/sunset times, etc.

    • Geography

    Develop physical landscapes, landmarks, cultures, and traditions. What are the residents like in this town? Stepford-esque? Back-country rural? A bustling city? Beach/island community?

    • History

    Even if you never use these details in the WIP, you should know the history of your world. Did a major event cause an upheaval? Are there lingering effects? What are the natural resources? What is the terrain and climate like? Any landmarks?

    • Culture and Society

    Who inhabits your world? What is the culture like? How is the diversity? Does the culture and/or society cause conflict? How so? What’s the transportation like—horses, vehicles, taxis, buses, bicycles, motorcycles, or do most people drive mopeds or golf carts on the streets?

    • Languages

    What is the predominate language of your world? Any secondary languages? Do language barriers cause conflict for the MC?

    • Societal Norms and Taboos

    What are societal norms for your world? Is there an Amish community? Is there a robust Indigenous community? Do their traditions and culture conflict or complement the MC’s background? Any taboos?

    • Leave Room for Changes

    Don’t describe your story world in so much detail that it doesn’t allow for deeper exploration in later books. You may love it today, but ten books later it could hamstring you.

    We can either create a story bible during the writing process or after. I prefer to do it once the first draft is complete. If I stop to scrawl notes during the drafting stage, it slows me down. Do whatever works best for you. These are guidelines, not rules.

    Did I miss anything? Please share.
    Any other advice from your experience?

    The post Top Story World and Story Bible Tips appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®.

    The Bookshelf Muse is a hub for writers, educators and anyone with a love for the written word. Featuring Thesaurus Collections that encourage stronger descriptive skills, this award-winning blog will help writers hone their craft and take their writing to the next level.


    Source: https://writershelpingwriters.net/2024/04/top-story-world-and-story-bible-tips/


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