I’ve written ten books. That’s only a modest achievement compared to many of my fellow authors.
Still, it’s enough that I’ve now started to forget many details in my stories.
One of my readers once surprised and delighted me by making an online quiz based on the first novel I ever wrote. I did the quiz and got eight out of ten questions right.
I, the author, couldn’t remember the names of two of the side characters in my own book—a book I spent over a year writing.
As time goes on and I write more, the challenge to keep on top of the details is growing.
It’s fairly straightforward to remember the names of the lead characters. But where it gets confusing is if there’s a person who has a less central role, such as the pastor’s wife, the owner of the local coffee shop, or the boy who shovels his neighbours’ driveways.
The details are important since I write in series. I once read a series where one character is referred to variously as someone’s “relative,” then his “niece,” and then his “daughter.” It’s understandable since this particular series has over 20 novels, so it must be hard keeping all the information straight.
I want to keep things consistent between my books, but it’s time-consuming to leaf through several hundred pages when I want to find the name of the Chinese restaurant everyone went to in Book 1, or the type of car the lead character in Book 2 was driving.
I forget what everyone’s eye colour is and what their physique is like, unless the fact is important to the story.
So, a few weeks ago, I took the plunge and asked someone to create a “series bible” for my current series.
It will contain key information about all the characters, their relation to each other, and the locations that appear in the books.
I’ve chosen to use a service that’s a bit like a Wikipedia page, if you’ve ever seen that online encyclopedia. I’m really thrilled with the potential. Right now it’s only for my use, so I can easily look up the details I need, but it might be fun to open it up to my readers at some point.
I enjoy geeking out on wiki-style encyclopedias about books, movies, and video games, but perhaps it’s just me!