NaNoWriMo-Making a Book Bible

We’re a week into NaNoWriMo!

How is everyone doing so far?

I’m doing really great. I’m writing this late Thursday night, this and I just finished writing for the night. I actually had to tell myself to stop so I could pick it up again tomorrow. I’ve heard its helpful to leave off in the middle of a scene because you’re eager to get back to it, page and its easier to jump back in. I started off NaNoWriMo at 14K words and I just surpassed 30K tonight so I’m feeling good.

I hope you’re all doing good no matter how many words you’ve written! Remember, NaNoWriMo What a Nerd Girl Says style is all about the focus of your novel and writing. Which is sort of the focus of today’s post.

Last week, right before the lovely ladies of the Fierce Reads tour embarked on their actual tour, they did a Twitter Q and A. Well the first question I asked was how they managed to handle all the world building of their novels.

My current novel, Oreo Surprise (okay, its not the real title, and its a long story), is my first dive into something that’s a little more complicated than contemporary YA. There’s more to the story and the world and its hard to keep track of.

And Jessica Brody suggested that I put together a book bible. Of course, my question was: what on earth is a book bible?

And basically, it comes from TV. They create a sort of bible on a television to keep track of characters and story lines, and all sorts of things like that, especially in the event that new writers are brought to the show. However, this can also work REALLY well with a novel writer, of any genre, really.

I spent most of my first day of NaNoWriMo working on my book bible, and I continue to work on it as I write my novel, and learn more about the characters and the story.

So I’m sharing the sort of things that I include in MY Book Bible, and other things you can include as well :)

Title

This part of my book bible is blank. I have no title for my novel. Sigh. I’m just SO terrible at naming things.

Genre:

I find this to be important to define in your book bible. It might change! And that’s okay. But having an idea of what you’re going for will help to keep you in that direction.

Character Profiles

I break it down between main characters, secondary main characters, and then strictly secondary characters. For the first two categories, I really get in depth with those. I dive into their histories, their likes and dislikes, their physical appearances, physical strengths and weaknesses and their mental strengths and weaknesses.

Whenever I make a comment about a character, or create a character trait or memory, I jot it down under that character in order to keep track. Everything that I need to know about that character is in this section, so that I don’t make the mistake of giving them conflicting memories.

I also like to keep track of the secondary characters to, even the smallest ones. It helps to make sure I don’t use the same names twice, and that I keep the story lines in order. This part of my book bible is SO important and critical for me. I have a HUGE tendency to contradict myself.

Character Playlists

This just helps me because I like to listen to music while I write. If there is a particular song that reminds me of a character, I will put it under that character, and I try to create playlists for that character. Music has a way of representing so many different emotions, which is why it resonates so much with us, so I love using it as inspiration and motivation.

Settings 

This is where I do everything from jotting down all the information I can about the actual location of where the story takes place, but also the details of my main character’s house and room, and the details of some of the journeys she has to take.

I like this section because I’m starting to put together a sort of map that is becoming important in the part that I’m working on now. There’s a big quest sort of part in the novel, and it requires Katy to pass through quite a few states, and I’m doing a lot of research on that, and I put that all in this section :)

Virus Breakdown 

This is exactly what it sounds like. In this section of my book bible, I break down the Z virus that causes the “zombies” of my novel. I broke it even further down into Symptoms, How Long it Manifests, Reawakening Processes, How it Spreads, etc.

This is an important part if you’re writing a world building novel. You need to break down your world building. This can be in settings and characters, but you can break down your class system, or your magic system. Once you have a hold of that, writing about it falls easier into place. Its not easy, but its easier and that is always good for a writer.

Beats

Jessica Brody is the most amazing author in the entire world for introducing me to the 15 beat system. She pulled it from the book, Save the Cat, which is actually a book on screenwriting. You can adapt it into novels fairly easy though. You break down your story into 15 beats, the opening image, the set-up, the midpoint, the bad guys win, hope is lost, etc. Having the fifteen beats sets the stage for the rest of the novel, and is not as daunting as a full plot outline.

You can check out the book, Save the Cat, for full details, or check out this article on it, which I found incredibly helpful!

Plot Outline 

Once I settled on the fifteen beats of my novel, I dove into a full plot outline. I am VERY vague with this. I usually only do short little sentences to explain what I want to happen, in order to be able to switch it around or change it as necessary.

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This is the way I have my own Book Bible.

Here are some other things I’ve found that people include in their book bibles:

Gadgets and Gizmos

What can NOT Happen in the Book

Character Interviews

Research

Back Stories

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Whatever you put it into your book bible, and however you organize it, it is definitely a tool that is available to aid you in your novel writing adventures.

I have found to be an incredibly helpful tool, and I am so glad that I decided to make it. It has been instrumental in this novel, and how I’ve been able to move forward with it as well as I have. I definitely recommend doing this for anyone who is jumping into a novel that requires even the smallest bit of world building.

Happy Writing Everyone!

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