What Is a Series Bible?
For years, writers and agents pitching television shows have had to share a book filled with information about their prospective show. These have included the premise, the characters, the setting, and proposed story arcs, all to convince networks to give their show a chance.
While a series bible may include a story synopsis and perhaps even a script, it’s so much more. It’s a sourcebook for everything in that program.
Here’s the thing. Series bibles (or book bibles, if you’re not writing a series) are a fantastic resource for novelists, too. Imagine being able to look up critical information about a character or a place without having to flip back through your book, or a previous book, to find where you wrote down that one detail.
“What was the name of that priestess I introduced at the beginning of the book? Who lost that amulet again? Wait, where’s my map of that fort?” Keep up on your series bible and you go and you can look up information easily.
A Great Example
If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” like I am, you may have a copy of the Dark Tower Concordance, put together by author Robin Furth. This is a fun book to browse through. You can jump from one entry to another, reliving parts of the story and discovering just how rich the worlds of Stephen King are.
That’s my favorite example of what a series bible can be like. If you’re interested in checking out some TV series bibles, some are available on the Screencraft site.
Online Series Bibles
The thing is, these days it’s easy to create an online series bible. Think of it like a personal wiki where you can gather all the information about your book, series, or milieu in one place.
One way to do this is by literally finding a personal wiki site, signing up, and getting to work. However, if you’ve read very many of my blog posts or newsletters, you know that I like to share what I think is the best way to do something.
When I was writing Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, I started my series bible on one of those personal wiki sites, and it worked Okay. But I later learned about WorldAnvil. The owners, power-couple Dimitris R Havlidis and Janet Forbes, run this site designed specifically for worldbuilding. For writers and anyone running an RPG, this site is fantastic.
I moved my series bible there. I’m able to look up details about all my creations in the Creedverse, the world of Bodacious Creed, including characters, locations, technologies, history, maps, and more. Feel free to check out my series bible if you like. Only a limited amount of information is available to the public. Most of it is private, for my own reference. Then, you can browse around the WorldAnvil site and see what others have created.
Your Series Bible
To sum up, if you’re a novelist, graphic novelist, gamemaster, videographer, or otherwise need a way to keep track of your story information and you don’t have a book, film, or series bible, it’s time to create one. I recommend WorldAnvil, but a personal wiki also works, and you may have your own ideas.
If you’re a fan of books, games, or television, then you’ll likely have a lot of fun checking out what’s available in existing series bibles.
Now, back to writing my current novel, Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake! Have fun with whatever project you’re working on.
“Nobody believes me when I say that my long book is an attempt to create a world in which a form of language agreeable to my personal aesthetic might seem real. But it is true.” ―
2 thoughts on “A Writer’s Secret Weapon: The Series Bible”
Melissa A Montana says:
I never thought of this. Thanks for the suggestion!
Jonathan Fesmire says:
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