In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: Creating a Series Bible
* After taking the day before
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
On a character seeing a shattered mug on the floor of the kitchen or bedroom: “How it wound up on the floor isn’t important (yet). What is important is that I’ve created conflict just by showing the shattered mug.” Sue Coletta
“A funny thing happens while creating a story bible. Scene ideas flood the creative mind.” Sue Coletta
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If you find this Journal helpful in any way, forward a copy of a post you enjoyed to a writer friend or acquaintance or group and recommend it.
You can’t really give writer friends a gift subscription to the Journal. They have to sign up themselves. But you can give them the gift of knowledge that it exists.
Topic: Creating a Series Bible
Is easy… especially if you write into the dark.
Writing into the dark simply means letting your creative subconscious mind create, and relegating your conscious, critical mind to tasks more suited to its unique talent: learning new information and techniques, which it then feeds to your creative subconscious.
But more than anything else, it means allowing the characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living.
Today’s Quotes of the Day come from the first post I linked to in “Of Interest” below. It’s an older post from earlier this month. I left a comment, but the comment was limp. Here’s what I wanted to write and what I should have written:
“Creating a series bible is easy for me. I just refer back to the reverse outline I created for the novel as I wrote it. When I’ve written two or more novels in the series, I combine the reverse outlines and I have a series bible.”
A reverse outline is exactly what it sounds like. When I finish a chapter, I take a minute or two to add a few notes to the reverse outline about what happened (notice the past-tense) in that chapter.
As I continue writing the novel, I can refer back to my reverse outline to remind myself of a name or a physical characteristic or a situation that happened earlier in the novel. This saves me cumulative hours of scrolling back through the novel looking for what happened why and how and to whom in an earlier chapter.
Here’s how the reverse outline relates to creating a series bible. Or a “writing world” bible, for that matter:
As I wrote in my imaginary comment above, when I’ve written two novels in the series, I retain both reverse outlines in their original files (e.g., “RO The Ark” and “RO The Journey Home 1”). But I also collate the information in both and create a new file titled, for example, “FOH Series Bible.”
In her post, Sue mentions she can review her series bible to get ideas for future books. That’s a truly great tip.
Here’s another one: I can review my reverse outline to re-establish in my creative mind the timeline and sequence of events of the current novel. And tada! The next scene floods into my creative mind and I’m off and writing again. And what comes next is in the natural flow of the story.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt a little stuck for what to write next in a novel. Especially when I ended the day before with nothing but the new chapter heading on the next page. But I quickly alleviated that feeling by reading back over the reverse outline.
Back on December 14 I missed the opportunity in my comment on Sue’s post to recommend using a reverse outline. Probably because I know she is one who outlines a novel before she begins to write it. Unfortunately, comments on that post are now closed.
Still, I regret that missed opportunity because you never know what might help. That comment might have turned on the light in another writer’s mind and freed them to the joy of writing into the dark.
Even if you’re a plotter and an outliner, I recommend using a reverse outline. Why? Because I also recommend if the characters take the story in a direction you didn’t expect—a direction that isn’t carefully plotted out on your outline—you let them run with the story. You can always go back and correct the outline instead of forcing the characters to your will in the story.
As Sue noted in the post, “A funny thing happens while creating a story bible. Scene ideas flood the creative mind.” Frankly, I feel a little bad for her. How very close she came to the sheer joy of writing into the dark and letting that creative mind just flow.
Some writers—and I count myself very fortunate to be counted among them—know “scene ideas flood[ing] the creative mind” isn’t a funny or odd thing to happen at all. For us, it’s a freeing, normal, natural part of the storytelling process.
After taking the day before off—I was a little under the weather—I had another very good day of writing yesterday. I expect today will be the same, and I expect the novel will finish easily before the end of the year.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Tips to Create a Series Bible” at https://killzoneblog.com/2020/12/tips-to-create-a-series-bible.html. If you don’t read this today, at least visit and copy/paste it to a Word doc to read it later.
See “TKZ Members Weigh In on Series Writing” at https://killzoneblog.com/2019/01/tkz-members-weigh-in-on-series-writing.html. Ditto my previous comment.
See “5 Tell-Tale Signs of an Amateur Self-Published Book” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/5-tell-tale-signs-of-an-amateur-self-published-book/. Good on her for admitting that clunky storytelling “shows up in trad-pubbed books too.” I submit that it shows up as a result of craft, not the manner of publication.
See “Year’s End Surprise: Spiegel & Grau, a Once-and-Future Publisher” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/years-end-surprise-spiegel-grau-a-once-and-future-publisher/. See PG’s take.
The Journal…………………………………… 1080 words
Writing of The Journey Home: Part 3 (novel)
Day 1…… 1568 words. Total words to date…… 1568
Day 2…… 2963 words. Total words to date…… 4531
Day 3…… 4652 words. Total words to date…… 9183
Day 4…… 5506 words. Total words to date…… 14689
Day 5…… 4107 words. Total words to date…… 18796
Day 6…… 5001 words. Total words to date…… 23797
Day 7…… 4256 words. Total words to date…… 28053
Day 8…… 6480 words. Total words to date…… 34533
Total fiction words for December……… 83956
Total fiction words for the year………… 536487
Total nonfiction words for December… 16430
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 201640
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 738127
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 8
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 13
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 53
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 214
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31