Writers Workshop: The Series Bible

I want to introduce everyone to an thing that you may or may not know about that will help you in planning and writing your next, or maybe even your current, machinima series: The Series Bible.

Every TV show and movie series has one. It is a reference document used by screenwriters for information on a television series’ characters, settings, and other elements. Writers who write book series also use them. In fact, that is how I first learned of the Series Bible. It’s an amazing resource that can be adapted for machinima to help you remember everything and prevent plot holes.

How you keep your series bible is up to you. You can do it as a document on your computer, use a notebook, bullet journal, or put everything in a 3 ring binder. Personally, I like the idea of a binder because it’s easy to add too, access, navigate, you can give each episode it’s own section, and so forth. So, what goes in your bible?

Character Descriptions

You will want to write down everything you will need to remember about every one of your characters including:

• age, birthday
• physical description
• personality quirks
• favourite music, books, food, etc
• how they dress
• religion/beliefs
• sexuality
• any sort of relevant medical details like an allergy
• anything you will need to remember about your characters

Keeping track of all of these things will prevent you from making your character break character. Every time that you discover something new about your characters you will want to add it to your bible. If you are doing a section for each episode, you will want to add your new characters under the episode where they were introduced where you remember.

You will want to make a separate section for the backstory of each of your characters. This backstory may or may not play a part in what you are writing, but it is helpful to have. The characters backstory is what shapes them and gives them life.

 

World Building

Here you will want to keep track of all of the places in your series and the major things that happen there that way you have it for reference later. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve had to go back and look at scripts or watch episodes of my own stuff to remember what happened when and where.

Along with setting, if you are writing science fiction or fantasy you will want to make an area to keep track of technology, religion, culture, languages, and so forth. 

 

Timeline

This seems to go without saying, but you need to put down your timeline of when things happen and to whom. It’s really an outline of your plot with maybe some extra details. You can do this with basic plot points or go in depth with each character. It’s up to you.

In the end it’s up to you how much you include and what you include in your series bible, but you will want to write down everything important that you don’t want to forget. I’ve included a video that Kami Garcia did explaining her series bible for Beautiful Creatures.

One thought on “Writers Workshop: The Series Bible

  • January 17, 2019 at 9:30 PM
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    Thanks for sharing this! Something I really needed.

    Reply

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