Creating A Series Bible

Today I’m working on something I should have done, or at least started, a year and a half ago: a series bible.

A series bible is what it sounds like. One place where you keep everything you’ll need to remember from one book to the next in your series.

But what should it include and what’s the best way to create it?

What Should Be In Your Series Bible?

What to include varies with the genre of your series, but most topics fall into three general categories:

  • Characters
  • Settings
  • Styles


The character section or sections of the Bible usually includes multiple sub-categories. Below are few ideas. You may add more or drop some that for you feel unnecessary:

  • Appearance
  • Health
  • Family
  • Other Key Relationships
  • Habitual ways the character speaks (style or subject matter or both)
  • Work
  • Education
  • Key character traits
  • Backstory
  • Religion
  • Greatest Fears, Desires, Regrets
  • Current and past residences

Here’s part of mine for Quille C. Davis, the protagonist in my Q.C. Davis series:

Chart of Recurring Characters for Q.C. Davis Mystery/Suspense Series

One tip I picked up from Author Lorna Faith in her article on the topic is to split out lists of characters. For example, you could have one for main characters and one for secondary characters.

I’ve started splitting mine by recurring characters, characters that appear in each specific book only, and characters that the short stories features. (I write short stories that fit between the novels to explore side character and side plots. Those stories are available to newsletter subscribers as a bonus.)

Setting Subcategories

Settings also may include sub-categories and may need to be quite extensive depending on what type of book you’re writing. Here are a few:

  • Settings for specific scenes (such as a coffee shop, your character’s home, a cave)
  • Locations (such as a particular city, country, planet)
  • Timeframe (especially key with historical fiction)
  • World-building  (special powers and other special rules of the world, history, culture)

At first I thought I’d just remember settings because my Q.C. Davis series is set for the most part in present-day Chicago where I live.

But now that I am on my third novel and am about to write the third short story, I’ve discovered details aren’t so easy to recall.

Does Quille’s favorite cafe have a fireplace? Is her friend Joe’s condo in Chicago’s West Loop or River North neighborhood? Did I talk about how Chicago streets are laid out on a grid before?

Style And Consistency

Tracking your styles to ensure you are consistent can help both your writing and your marketing.

Style includes how you name, format, and spell certain key things. Within your stories, you’ll want to be consistent in things like whether you italicize names of books or movies characters mention. Also, how you spell a character’s name. (I kept forgetting if a character names Carole Ports uses the “e” at the end or not.)

Style matters for marketing, too.

As I’m setting up the preorder for The Fractured Man, Book 3 in my series, I realized Book 1 on Kobo had the series name as “Q.C. Davis” and Book 2 as “Q.C. Davis Mystery”.  On another platform one of the books was missing a sub-title.

Nothing like making it harder for your readers to find the books!

Creating And Formatting Your Bible

I’m using tables in Word to save my information, but there are lots of options.

You might prefer other programs like Srivener, which has many options for creating bulletin boards and categories, or spreadsheets on a program like Excel. You could also hand write pages and put them in a binder, use index cards, or create a chart on posterboard on your wall.

The key is what will make it easiest for you to find the information you want quickly.

I suspect I’ll eventually print the separate Word tables and put them into a tabbed binder. The Word doc will be good for searching for particular terms. The paper binder will be good for paging through for ideas or reminders.

One last tip: Color coding by book or story is a great way to remember when you introduced a particular character, setting, or fact.

That’s all for today. Until next Friday, when I’ll talk about when (and when not) to use adverbs

L.M. Lilly

P.S. If you’re struggling with fleshing our your characters, you might find my book Creating Characters From The Inside Out helpful. It comes in workbook and ebook editions.

2 thoughts on “Creating A Series Bible”

  1. I am looking for editors that hire people to write series bibles for authors. Does anyone know of anyone who is looking to hire?

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately, I don’t know of anyone specific. At one point I asked a virtual assistant to do it, but she never got to the task. I suspect it seemed overwhelming for her. You might want to check the Alliance for Independent Authors or Reedsy websites.

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