April 18, 2019 by Sarra Cannon
There are lots of options for how to keep track of the information you’ll need to remember in a long-running series, but one of my favorite ways to keep a Series Bible is inside a private Wiki. Keep reading or watch today’s video to find out why a wiki can be a great choice for your Series Bible.
First things first. Why do you even need a Series Bible?
If you’re only writing one or two connected books in a world, you might not need one. However, once you start moving into three or more books that share characters, a magic system, or occur in the same town or area, you’ll start to understand why a Series Bible is such an important resource.
When I started writing Beautiful Demons in 2010, I only intended the series to be a trilogy. That always makes my husband chuckle now, as I’m currently working on Book 11, and there are several spin-off books and novellas in this same world.
Needless to say, I didn’t immediately start a Series Bible, because I didn’t know I would need one. I thought I could keep most of the information in my head just fine or pull out the manuscript of the previous books to research a topic if needed.
By Books 4 and 5, however, I was in way over my head. There were so many details to my world that I had to keep straight and consistent throughout books. Everything from character descriptions to locations and magical powers became important facts inside my world that needed to stay consistent throughout each book.
This is why any writer working on a series of books set in the same world needs a Series Bible. One of the most important things across books is consistency, and if you write in a world or town or across a group of characters, it’s just difficult to keep it all straight.
The last thing you want to be doing is going through each individual books, trying to find a character’s hair or eye color or whether you mentioned their last name at some point. Keeping all of the facts of your series world in one place is going to help you stay consistent without spending so much time scouring your older books looking for details.
I started with just a three-ring binder, but as my world expanded, I realized this was not going to work, either. As much as I love working on paper for so many things, I decided that the most efficient way to keep a Series Bible for a larger series was in a digital format that could be easily searchable and would have the ability to be cross-referenced in a single click.
This is where the idea of using a Wiki came in.
I have heard of other authors using programs like One Note, Evernote, and even Word for their Series Bibles, but when my husband heard what I needed to keep track of, he suggested using a private Wiki.
Here are some of the features I love most about Wikis:
Now that we’ve gone over some of the advantages to using a Wiki for your Series Bible, I want to briefly touch on what type of information you need to keep inside your Wiki.
Here is a list of the things I try to make sure I document in detail for my Wiki:
This is a good summary of the most important things to track inside your Series Bible Wiki. If you’d like to see a more dedicated post and video about how to set up your Series Bible from scratch, how to structure it, and what to track, please let me know in the comments.
I’d love to know in the comments if you have a Series Bible for your own works or not. If you do, what are you using? Is it meeting your needs?
With most things, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and different authors will find different resources and tools that fit their style of learning and tracking information. I’d love to hear what you use for your Series Bible and how it’s working for you!
However, if you’ve never had a Series Bible but have been looking to start one, I hope you’ve found this overview of a Wiki helpful.
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Thank you! My daughter is working on a YA fantasy trilogy and after we watched this she is determined to create a bible on a private wiki so we can use it together (I’m helping her). We both love your videos!!
Yay! This is awesome. Thanks Sarra! I just started using https://www.worldanvil.com/about which is a world building website that started for RP and D&D I believe, but they are geared toward authors too. It’s way too much fun.
I know some people who use World Anvil! It looks pretty cool, but I’m afraid I would get lost over there!
Sorry, but I can’t find the link to the wiki site. Please could you post it Gain? Thank you.
This is such a great idea!! How did you go about making your wiki? Do you recommend a specific hosting site?
I use pbworks.com, but I am sure there are plenty of other sites out there!
I tried to use PBworks but it wasn’t a good fit – One Note is great, though.
Hi Sarra. I came across your Wiki video after doing a Google search for digital series bibles. I would love it if you could do a detailed video of setting this up from scratch. As an Author Assistant, I would love to offer this as a service and feel that seeing how to do it from scratch would be valuable.
Oh yeah. This are all tings I already do.
Excellent article. I just installed MediaWiki on my PC for this very purpose, and have been searching for examples to emulate. Few writers seem to have discovered this genius idea, sadly. I have a HUGE universe, with characters that not just span books, but whole series. The level of detail is insane and has gotten very difficult to keep track of via notes Google Docs. So now I am migrating all of it into my personal Wiki, to be linked to my Scrivener projects for reference. My editor can also use it to check spellings and info for continuity too.