I love Scrivener, it makes writing novels (and writing novel series) so much easier! One of the things I noticed while constantly changing my writing process, however, is that there’s not that much information out there on how to effectively use Scrivener for writing a novel series. So I’m going to try and outline some ways that I use Scrivener to do just that.
First up: The Series Bible.
A series bible is a compilation of relevant information about a series that can be referenced by an author and their editor during the editing/revision process. A good bible should include:
- Character Outlines
- important traits (physical/mental)
- key moments for their development in various novels
- Compilation of character outlines/timelines (if you have them)
- Where exactly it is
- Anything that’s been altered by the story over time (ex: broke that expensive Ming vase/set fire in that room and haven’t managed to clean up the damage yet/changed the color from green to blue)
- Special words or word usages
- Grammatical notes specific to the novel
- Creatures (where applicable)
- Details Details Details
- Style Guide
- Any special notes for grammar usage in the novels to flag for an editor to ignore
- aka “It’s not a mistake it’s a feature“
- Full copy of previous novels for quick reference if necessary
- Characteristic sayings
- Quotable bits of dialogue to be used in promotion
- Potential tie ins for later novels
I created a bible for each of my series using Scrivener. Th bible is an entirely separate document to the document that contains the actual novel writing, this helps to keep things clear and easy for reference. You’ll notice there are no notes or references for future novels in the bible, I keep all of those in the doc I’m actually writing in.
In Scrivener I create a folder for each of the main points and subfolders inside of those as needed. For example, Characters-> Rin Tyler -> Outlines etc.
A good bible is a wonderful reference guide! The first few novels I wrote, I didn’t have Scrivener – or any kind of bible. When I went on to write the second book in the series, I had to reread the first book in the series before I could edit my new novel properly and make sure there weren’t any giant plot holes! Though it was fun to reread the work I’d written so many years earlier, it was a huge time sink that’s best avoided whenever possible.
I recommend starting your series bible as soon as possible and keeping it updated as you go.