Friday, January 6, 2012

keeping organized

So I've realized I think I need to be a little more organized...  How does everyone do it?  I make stuff up, especially because of the fantasy setting, and then I forget and have to look back and find it.  All. The. Time.  It's kinda annoying.  I have a million notebooks but not in any one place.  That's probably where I should start, right?  Someone told me about keeping a story bible and I never really thought about it.  I thought "I'm young. I have a good memory."  HA.  So what is a story bible and what goes into it?  I think of it as everything I need to know about the story, just put it in one place.  I'm talking:

Characters: what they look like, their personality, family, clothing style, talents, hobbies, flaws, motivations, anything you think you might need later.  This is especially good for minor characters, because when they reappear I can never remember the clothing style I had them in the first time. 
Backstory: stuff you as the author need to know, but everyone else doesn't.  I kind of combine this with characters to make one giant character list
World/setting: is there anything different in this world?  any new laws of physics?  new dressing styles?  how does transportation work?  money?
Magic system: for me, this is key, because I've already talked about how hard it was for me to set boundaries.  When you invent a special power, it can throw off the whole magic system; you have to know WHY that special power happened and what the effects might be.  I like to document the regular powers in the world, and then my characters special powers and why they have the special ones.  It's also a great brainstorming convention because I write my story bible by hand.
Plot: I throw some important plot stuff in there too, just so I have everything in the same place.  It's helpful if you're writing a series and the plot continues throughout the whole thing.  So if you have to refer back to something that happened in book 1, when you're writing book 3, the details are there.  Like if a secret message pops up, I have the exact words of the message at my finger tips.  Though I guess I could always search my word document, for some reason this helps me focus.

So I just started making one and found it incredibly helpful.  Has anyone found anything that's helped them stay organized?

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