How to Create a Series Bible for Your Fiction Series #TipsandTools

How to Create a Series Bible for Your Fiction Series #TipsandTools

If you talk to any established romance author, they will tell you that writing in series is how you make bank —and I don’t disagree!

But up until a few years ago, there wasn’t a whole lot of information out there about how to do it. Sure, I attended some workshops, but they were often led by folks who wrote a specific kind of series, which left me confused about how to craft mine. Not only that, these folks seemed to be better equipped to hold all the information about their characters and several books in their head while I forget what I wrote the moment I write the end.

Did that stop me from writing a series?

Absolutely not!

I currently have three series out in the world. Some were planned, and some were created because I became obsessed with the sister, best friend, ex-girlfriend, or potential for mess with a character both of my main characters are infatuated with. The Lust Diaries was created on the fly, and part of me is glad I did that because that series really has no end, and I can continue to write in that world forever. Then there was The Truth Duet that, in addition to revisiting the characters in The Lust Diaries, introduced a spin-off series, Ampersand, which picks up at the end of the epilogue (the one in the book, not Sex in a Wedding Dress). My Small Town Romance series was planned using Zoe York’s Romance Your Brand book, but I struggled with the timeline (what is time anyway?), and I’m actually kinda sad that I closed off that series so neatly. Writing it did give me ideas for spin-offs, though. I’m currently working on one of those spin-off series, Marrow Bone Creek, and… it’s a bigun! And since this series has a magic system, worldbuilding, and important familial connections, I decided to create my series bible before I published a single book in it instead of doing it after I published the first book. It’s been fun to create, and hopefully, it will be an excellent tool for my editor when it comes time to dig into each of these books.

What is a Series Bible?

A series bible is like a guidebook for your book series. It’s a master document where you store all the essential details about your characters, settings, plot points, and even the tiniest world-building elements. It's the place where you keep track of everything so you don't have to rely solely on memory (which, let's be honest, is unreliable on our best day).

Creating a series bible is about consistency and organization. When you're writing a series, it's super easy to forget small but crucial details—like a character's eye color, a specific town's name, or the exact timeline of events. Having a series bible means you can quickly look up these details and ensure everything stays consistent across all your books. This is especially important for keeping your readers immersed in the story without any jarring inconsistencies that might pull them out of the narrative.

Now, if you're a plotter, you’re probably geeked out by the idea of creating all of these details. My pantsers friends are probably sweating as they read this, though. Don’t run away, friend! A series bible can be incredibly beneficial for you, too! For plotters, it acts as a structured roadmap to help you keep track of your meticulous plans. For pantsers, it provides a handy reference tool to help you maintain consistency and coherence, even if you prefer a more spontaneous writing approach. It helps keep everything straight so you can focus on crafting an engaging, cohesive story that your readers will love from start to finish. It’s also a fun place to play when you’re in between writing sessions.

Step 1: Setting Up Your Series Bible

Setting up your series bible is like gearing up for an epic adventure. First things first, you need to decide whether you want to go digital or stick with good ol' pen and paper. Both options have their perks, so it really comes down to what works best for you.

Choosing the Format: Digital vs. Physical

If you're a tech-savvy writer, digital might be the way to go. I was once an all-analog girl, but I quickly discovered that my travel notebook and all my favorite pens, highlighters, sticky tabs, and Post-its wouldn’t travel easily, so I moved to a digital format. There are some fantastic software options out there to help keep everything organized.

Scrivener: This is my absolute favorite word-processing software. Some authors find it intimidating, but I’ve been hooked since I won it during NaNoWriMo sometime in the early aughts. It's got a ton of features that let you organize your notes, character profiles, and plot points all in one place. And now that there’s an app that you can link and sync through Dropbox, I will be a lifetime user!

Google Docs: Super accessible and easy to share if you're collaborating with someone. Plus, it's free, and you can access it from any device.

Notion: This tool is incredibly flexible. You can create databases, link pages, and really customize it to fit your needs. Notion doesn’t work for my brain, but I’ve seen some really gorgeous set-ups!

Trello: Great for visual thinkers. Use boards, lists, and cards to organize your series. Perfect for keeping track of plots, characters, and settings. To know me is to know that me and Trello go together real bad. And now that there’s a whole slew of features like automation, checklists, and a calendar where you can plug in your deadlines, we will be together forever. And no, this is not a sponsored post. I’ve been talking about and promoting Trello out of the goodness of my heart for years, but they have yet to offer me an affiliate link. (Just kidding, they don’t do affiliate marketing.)

Plottr: Designed specifically for writers, Plottr offers visual planning tools to outline your series, track character arcs, and keep detailed notes on settings and events. I have this program, but I haven’t quite figured out how to use it. However, I purchased it because it appealed to my desire to organize my books across a series.

Campfire: Campfire provides tools for worldbuilding, character development, and plot tracking. It's great for managing complex series with lots of details.

Evernote: This note-taking app allows you to create notebooks for different aspects of your series and easily search through your notes. I used this before I discovered Trello. It’s great, but very text-based, so I switched to Trello because it was easier to create a more visually appealing series bible.

OneNote: Similar to Evernote, OneNote allows for organized note-taking with notebooks, sections, and pages. It’s highly flexible and integrates well with other Microsoft Office tools.

Dabble: An online writing tool that offers features for plotting and story organization, including scene cards and a plot grid to keep track of your series details.

Each of these programs has its strengths, so the best choice depends on your specific needs and workflow preferences.

On the flip side, if you're more of a tactile person who loves the feel of paper, physical options are totally a vibe. The joy of flipping through pages, scribbling notes in the margins, and having an excuse to buy more stationery. Not to mention the satisfying sound of turning a page and the scent of fresh paper – it’s like aromatherapy for writers. Plus, you get to use those fancy pens and highlighters you’ve been hoarding. Obviously, you can tell that I haven’t gone completely digital. I still love and use my travel notebook system, but not in the same way.

Binders: You can add sections, move things around, and have everything neatly organized. Plus, there's something satisfying about flipping through pages.

Notebooks: Great for portability. You can have different notebooks for different aspects of your series that you tuck into a travel notebook system (this is where I got mine) or use tabs to keep one big notebook organized.

Step 2: Core Elements to Include

At the heart of every great series are the characters – the ones who make us laugh, cry, and keep turning pages. Whether they’re the main stars or the supporting cast, each character plays a vital role in your story.


Main Characters: These are your stars. Give them detailed profiles, complete with backstories, motivations, and character arcs. What makes them tick? What are their goals, fears, and dreams? Write down everything from their physical appearance to their favorite ice cream flavor. Knowing your main characters inside and out will help you keep them consistent and compelling throughout your series.

Supporting Characters: Don’t forget the sidekicks, mentors, and love interests! These characters play crucial roles and need development, too. Outline their relationships with the main characters and how they contribute to the plot. Are they the best friend who offers comic relief or the wise mentor guiding the hero? Give them depth and a clear purpose in the story.

Minor Characters: Even the smallest roles can make a big impact. Jot down brief descriptions and their roles in the story. The barista who always gets the protagonist's coffee order wrong, the quirky neighbor, or the villain’s henchman – give them a little love. This helps keep your world rich and populated with memorable faces.

Now it’s time to dive into the world they inhabit. World-building is like crafting the stage where all the drama, romance, and action unfold. Whether your series is set in a quaint small town or a sprawling fantasy realm, having detailed notes on your setting, history, and culture will make your world feel real and immersive.


Setting: Think of this as the backdrop for all your scenes. Include descriptions of key locations, maps, and significant landmarks. Is there a cozy coffee shop where your characters hang out? A mysterious forest on the outskirts of town? Detail these places so vividly that readers can picture themselves there. You can get as detailed as you want!

History: Every world has a past. Create a timeline of important events and backstories that have shaped your setting. Maybe there was a great war, a founding family, or a significant discovery. Knowing the history helps you add depth and context to your story, making it richer and more engaging.

Culture: Dive into the societal norms, traditions, languages, and religions of your world. How do people greet each other? What festivals do they celebrate? Are there unique customs or sayings? These details bring authenticity and flavor to your series, making the world you’ve built feel lived-in and dynamic.


Alright, our characters and world are sorted, so let’s tackle the part that makes every panster I know itch: the plot. This is where all those juicy storylines come together, creating a compelling narrative that keeps readers hooked from book one to the grand finale. Pantsers, keep reading because I’ve included some ways you can use this portion of your bible.

Series Overview: Start with the big picture. Outline the main plot points, overarching themes, and the genre of your series. What’s the central conflict? What journey will your characters undertake? This overview acts as your roadmap, guiding you through the entire series and keeping you focused on the endgame.

Individual Book Summaries: Break it down book by book. Give a brief outline of each book’s plot, highlighting key events and character developments. Think of it like a mini-synopsis for each installment. This helps ensure each book has its own distinct arc while contributing to the larger story.

Subplots: These are the threads that weave through your main plot, adding depth and complexity. Outline how your subplots integrate with the main story. Maybe there’s a slow-burning romance, a hidden mystery, or a character’s personal growth. These subplots should enhance the main narrative, providing layers and keeping readers engaged.

For my discovery writers out there, don’t worry – this section doesn’t have to cramp your style. Think of it as a flexible framework rather than a strict roadmap. Here are some suggestions on how you can use these plot elements while still keeping the magic of spontaneous storytelling alive:

Series Overview: Keep it broad. Jot down a few key plot points and themes you want to explore, but leave plenty of room for surprises. Think of it as your story’s skeleton – you’ll flesh it out as you go.

Individual Book Summaries: Instead of detailed outlines, write a loose summary or a few sentences about what each book might cover. Highlight the beginning, middle, and end in broad strokes, but allow the details to evolve as you write. This gives you a sense of direction without feeling confined.

Subplots: Identify a few potential subplots but let them develop naturally. Maybe note a couple of character arcs or relationships you’d like to explore, but don’t force yourself to plan them out completely. Keep these notes as prompts that you can pick up and run with whenever inspiration strikes.

Remember, your series bible is a living document. None of this is set in stone. You can update and change things as your story unfolds. It’s there to support you, not restrict you.

Rules and Consistencies

These are the details that keep your story believable and your readers fully immersed. Whether you’re dealing with a magic system, futuristic technology, or just making sure your world’s internal logic holds up, it’s all about keeping things consistent and clear.

Magic System: If your series features magic, it’s crucial to set some ground rules. What can magic do in your world? What are its limitations? Where did it originate? Maybe your characters need specific ingredients for spells, or there are strict consequences for using dark magic. By defining these rules, you ensure your magic system feels real and bound by logic, not just convenient plot devices.

Technology: Whether your series is set in a high-tech future or a steampunk past, the technology in your world needs some guidelines. What advancements exist? What are the limitations? Think about key inventions that play a role in your story. Is there a gadget everyone uses or a groundbreaking piece of tech that changes everything? Detailing these aspects helps create a believable and engaging setting.

Internal Logic: This is about maintaining consistency throughout your series. If you establish that your hero can teleport only once a day, stick to it. Keeping track of these details prevents plot holes and keeps your readers from getting pulled out of the story by inconsistencies. Jot down these rules and revisit them as you write to make sure everything aligns.

Step 3: Expanding Your Series Bible

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to make your series bible truly come to life. Step 3 is all about expanding your series bible with visual aids that not only enhance your creativity but also keep you inspired and motivated throughout your writing journey. It’s where you get to pretty it up, or create a theme that inspires you every time you pick up the notebook or open your Trello board app.

Character Sketches: If you’re artistically inclined, drawing sketches of your characters can be a fun and helpful way to visualize them. Even if you’re not, consider finding images that represent your characters. Seeing them in front of you can make them feel more real and help you maintain consistency in their descriptions.

Maps and Setting Illustrations: Creating maps of your world or key locations within your story can be incredibly useful. Whether it’s a detailed map of a fantasy realm or a simple layout of a small town, having a visual representation helps you and your readers navigate your world. Setting illustrations can also bring important places to life, making them easier to describe and more vivid in your mind.

Inspirational Images and Mood Boards: Collect images that capture the mood, atmosphere, and aesthetic of your series. Mood boards are a fantastic way to keep your creative juices flowing and stay inspired. Pin photos, color palettes, and snippets of text that evoke the feeling you want in your story. This visual inspiration can be a powerful tool to keep you motivated and focused.

Research and References

As authors, we are sometimes required to dive into unfamiliar topics, which means research is a crucial part of the process. To make sure your series is as accurate and believable as possible, you’ll want to keep track of all the interesting tidbits and essential information you uncover.

Relevant Research: Whether you’re writing a historical romance or a sci-fi adventure, you’ll need to gather some solid background information. This could be anything from historical facts and scientific details to cultural insights. Did you learn something fascinating about Victorian fashion or the mechanics of faster-than-light travel? Note it down. Having these details at your fingertips ensures your story is rich and authentic.

Sources and References: It’s easy to lose track of where you found that perfect piece of information, especially when you’re deep into writing mode. Keep a section in your series bible dedicated to sources and references. Jot down book titles, article links, and even the names of experts you’ve consulted. This not only helps you stay organized but also gives you a handy resource list to refer back to whenever you need a quick fact-check.

Maintaining thorough research notes and references will help you build a foundation of authenticity and depth for your series. Plus, having everything in one place saves you from the classic writer’s dilemma of “Where did I read that again?" It’s all about making your life easier and your story stronger.

Future Planning

As you build your series, it's important to think ahead and lay the groundwork for future books. This is where future planning comes into play, ensuring that your story remains cohesive and engaging across multiple installments. Let's dive into how you can effectively plant seeds for what's to come.

Foreshadowing: One of the most exciting aspects of writing a series is dropping hints and clues that will pay off in future books. Think of it as sprinkling little Easter eggs for your readers to discover. These can be subtle references, mysterious events, or character quirks that will become significant later on. By carefully placing these foreshadowing elements, you create anticipation and keep readers hooked, eager to see how everything unfolds.

Plot Threads: Not every issue needs to be resolved immediately. In fact, leaving some plot threads hanging can be a powerful way to maintain intrigue and momentum. Identify key unresolved issues or mysteries that you plan to address in later books. Whether it’s a lingering question about a character’s past, an unsolved crime, or a looming threat, keeping track of these plot threads ensures that you can seamlessly weave them into your ongoing narrative.

Thinking ahead and incorporating these elements into your series bible sets the stage for captivating, interconnected stories that keep readers coming back for more. Future planning helps you maintain continuity, build suspense, and deliver satisfying payoffs, making your series a rewarding journey for both you and your readers. It also lays the groundwork for a spin-off series!

Step 4: Maintaining and Updating Your Series Bible

Now that your series bible is filled with all the essential details, it’s important to keep it up-to-date. As a living document, your series bible should evolve alongside your story and help you maintain your writing goals!

Regular updates: Make it a habit to update your series bible after each writing session or whenever you make significant progress. Added a new character? Tweaked a plot point? Jot it down. This keeps everything current and saves you from scrambling to remember details later. Also, consider updating your bible with each new book release, ensuring it reflects the latest developments in your series.

Keeping track of changes: To avoid confusion, it’s helpful to use version control and update logs. Keep a record of what changes you’ve made and when. This can be as simple as noting the date and a brief description of the update. If you’re using digital tools like Google Docs or Notion, you can easily manage versions and track changes, which helps maintain a clear history of your updates.

Tracking your writing goals: Your series bible can also be a great place to track your writing goals. Note down your daily or weekly word count targets, deadlines for drafts, and any milestones you’ve set for yourself. This keeps you motivated and provides a clear path to follow as you work through your series.

Feedback incorporation: Don’t forget to include input from beta readers, editors, and fans. They often catch details you might miss and offer valuable insights. If a beta reader points out a plot hole or an editor suggests a character tweak, incorporate these changes into your series bible. Feedback from fans can also be golden – if they’re excited about a particular subplot, you might want to expand on it in future books.

Maintaining and updating your series bible helps you keep a reliable and accurate resource. This not only makes your writing process smoother but also helps you deliver a consistent and engaging story for your readers. It’s all about staying organized and embracing the ongoing evolution of your series.

I hope this helps you appreciate the power of a well-maintained series bible. It’s not just a tool but can be a series author’s best friend that helps you stay organized, consistent, and creatively inspired. Remember, your series bible should work for you. Feel free to personalize it and adapt the format to suit your unique writing style and process. Whether you prefer a digital setup with all the bells and whistles or a tactile, paper-based approach, make it yours.

To keep everything running smoothly, stay on top of updates, track your goals, and incorporate feedback as you go. Be flexible—let your series bible evolve with your story. And most importantly, enjoy the creative process. Writing a series is a marathon, not a sprint. Embrace the journey, have fun with it, and let your imagination run wild. And if you’re interested in Trello, click the link in Additional Resources to get my free Template! Next week I will do a deep dive into Trello and how I use it. 

Happy writing!

xo, Tasha


Additional Resources

- My Trello Series Bible Template

- Recommended reading: Strategic Series Author by Crystal Hunt, Writing The Fiction Series by Karen S. Weisner, Story by Robert Mckee, Character by Robert Mckee, Publishing How-To Series by Zoe York.

- Join the Wordmakers Writing Community

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