Posts Tagged ‘organization’

Pondering a Series Bible

I’ve heard about series bibles before, but I’ve never really considered making one. A series bible, for those unfamiliar with the terminology, is a document where you keep all your information relating to a series, such as character information, worldbuilding, plot summaries, etc.

If you’ve been here for a while, you know I don’t tend to write series. In fact, aside from my trilogy and the Fractured World universe, I’ve never written multiple stories in the same universe (aside from little scenes here and there for my own edification). So while series bibles have sounded interesting, they’ve never seemed like they would be much use to me.

However, today I was working on one of those little scenes I mentioned above. These are little vignettes related to the main story that aren’t meant for any specific except to help me flesh out character and worldbuilding. Most of them are backstory, though some of them are scenes from alternate points of view. But, anyway, I was working on one related to the trilogy, since I’m still running it through the critique marathon and will be working on it again shortly.

And I ran into some issues where I couldn’t remember some of my worldbuilding. Or if I’d done that particular worldbuilding.

And then I had to do said worldbuilding, which slowed down the process, and made more work of random little scenes than I wanted.

So maybe it wouldn’t hurt to consolidate all my notes in one place, where I can find everything when I need it. I mean, I do this for individual books, so it makes sense to move all the stuff from the whole trilogy into one place, right? Or copy it over, maybe, so the information is still in place for the individual book and I don’t have to dig through everything to find it.

Have you guys used a series bible? How many stories are necessary in a world before you start up a bible? What do you use?

(In the interest of full transparency, I do have a bible for the Fractured World stories. Because the Fractured World is designed to have multiple authors telling stories in it, I made a governing document so that everyone’s worldbuilding is consistent.)

WriYe and Organization

Oof, why is May going so fast? Seriously. Ahhhhhhhh

Anyway. It’s time for the monthly prompt from WriYe, which is about writing organization, something I am alternately very good at and also sometimes terrible at.

How do you keep your writing organized and backed up?

I mostly use Google Drive. I keep all my outlines and other background information there–conlangs, worldbuilding, feedback, etc. I also try to keep the most recent version of each draft on there as well, though sometimes this leads to issues (such as a local version syncing incorrectly and the cloud version eating the most recent update), so sometimes I will also NOT back up the most recent version for my own sanity.

I realize this is risky, but when Drive makes me waste an hour finding the proper version or makes me create 15 copies of the same document because it can’t just save over the pre-existing version, sometimes it’s worth it.

(I do back up other ways as well. I lost 4K on a story once and it was not fun.)

I also keep things like word count trackers and agent/submission lists there, so I can access them from anywhere. And my random idea file, so things can be added at a moment notice.

That being said, I do also do planning in notebooks, because sometimes that just works better, and sometimes it is too much work to type all that into a document (especially if there’s artwork involved, and often there is, for maps or uniforms or what have you). I have a set shelf on my desk that’s for writing notebooks, which I’ve put into place after one rather important one wandered off (RIP).

Do you have any tips or tricks to share that have helped you?

More backing up is better. I have an external hard drive that I back everything up to periodically, and I keep a version of each completed draft on Google Drive and in my email (in case Drive does something weird). I also sometimes back things up onto a flash drive.

That way, if anything happens, it’s still somewhere.

Organization within storage areas is also good–I keep the novels separate from the short stories, and keep all information for each specific novel or series separate from the others.

(So, like, Novels>Series>Book 1, etc.)

This allows me to easily find the stuff related to a specific project as opposed to having to scroll through a long list of things (though search functions do exist, but if you’ve named a document something not obvious you’re screwed).

So, uh, that’s me, I guess. I do think there’s a thin line between organization and obsessive organizing that can take away from working time on other things, so I try not to stress about it too much.

How are you, squider? Thoughts on organization?

Pondering Writing Journals

So, my writing book for August was Description & Setting by Ron Rozelle, which is probably one of if not the first writing book I bought myself (and yet had never read, which is par for the course). Description is a weak point for me and always has been (though I like to think I’m getting better at it), so I found the book informative and interesting and would recommend it.

(Though I recommended it to a writing friend, and apparently it’s gotten really expensive. Boo.)

One of things Mr. Rozelle recommends is having a writing journal, which is kind of like a normal morning journal, except it’s focused on writing and writing adjacent activities, such as outlining or planning (both the general story or that day’s work specifically), thoughts on media consumed and what worked/didn’t work, snippets of conversations or observations to be used in future stories/scenes, story ideas, maps and floor plans, stray thoughts, etc.

The idea is that you do a couple of pages each day, and then you’re generally better organized or at least thinking about writing more regularly. Plus everything is in more or less one place and hence easy-ish to find.

It sounds lovely.

But it also sounds like how I used to work. I had these two steno notebooks (one, the one that I of course wrote down all my initial thoughts and outlines for Shards, is lost to the depths of time. And of course it disappeared before I actually sat down to write Shards.) that I carted around everywhere. I drew maps and other important things (the uniforms that go along with my space dinosaur story are in there), wrote snippets of story, figured out backstory, did odd brainstorms, you name it.

But I found it hard to find the stuff again later (missing notebook not withstanding). I’d often have to go through both notebooks a few times before I found what I was looking for (invariably it was tucked in some margin somewhere, or on the back of something else), and sometimes it would turn out to be somewhere else entirely.

But I also wasn’t terribly meticulous. The notes aren’t in any sort of order; I would open to a blank page and go. It’s possible that if I started at the beginning of a notebook and wrote on pages in order that the whole thing would make more sense.

So I am pondering giving the whole idea a go again. I’m certainly not lacking in notebooks. And I think I would write in pen this time, because pencil does not last. (And it smears.)

I know this year has been a mess, but I’ve felt so unproductive. I haven’t been, not really, but I’ve also been hyperaware of times when I could have been writing and haven’t been able to actually do so. Maybe a change of format, or a morning routine, could be helpful.

(Though I have yet to figure out a morning routine around the small, mobile ones. Maybe a mid-morning routine?)

Anyone keep a creative journal of any sort? Found them useful? Tips that you find really work?

In other news, Heifer International sent me this video about llamas and alpacas, and well, here we are:

Been a while since we’ve had alpaca content here. Whoops.

Also, as a reminder, my new SkillShare class about genre is here! If you’d like a 14-day free trial of SkillShare, you can get it here. In general, I’m fond of SkillShare–it’s a great learning platform for creative stuff (I take illustration and singing classes, mostly) and there’s a lot of good content on there. Plus with the membership, you can take as many classes as you want, with no limit. (Could totally get in a few classes in those two weeks, just saying.)

Almost autumn, squiders! Hooray!

Spring Cleaning

Yes, I know it’s almost fall. Shhhhh.

My husband and I were going through our guest bedroom earlier today. Said bedroom is one of our stuff-gathering places in the house–you know, one of the places things just get shoved to be out of the way and forgotten about. And we try to not let these places go for too long, because then the stuff becomes overwhelming, and no one wants to touch them, and it just gets worse and worse and worse, and next thing you know you’re on one of those hoarding shows crying because you hadn’t realized things had gotten so bad.

Anyway. Found some interesting things. Costume pieces I haven’t seen in years. Boxes for electronics we got rid of a long time ago. Old computers that we are hoarding for some unknown reason, including one where the motherboard fried before we even moved back to this state. Almost four years ago.

Also, I have a lot of excess fabric from various sewing projects that I should, I don’t know, make a quilt or applique or something with.

But my point for the day is that writers tend to do this hoarding things with their stories too. You know what I mean. Novels and shorts that never got finished, because life or ennui or whatever happened. Old drafts that have since gotten newer drafts. Character sketches or drabbles that you wrote on a whim.

These tend to get strewn through our computers (or notebooks)–a few here, a few there. Some on this computer. New versions on the flashdrive.

And, sometimes, it’s a good idea to gather everything up, to look over everything, and to organize it. To make sure all the most recent versions are in one place. To have a folder with ALL your short stories in it. To archive older stories that never got finished, to be returned to one day, or to be occasionally read to see how far you’ve come, or to remember different times.

It will take some time. But when you’re done, you’ll feel like you really accomplished something, and everything will be in its place, for when you need it in the future.