Monday, August 1, 2022

2022 August - Having A Project Bible

For a writer, having a Project Bible for their story writing is a means to sorting through ideas, characters, and plot points to verify there is a story with a beginning, a middle, and an ending worth the time to invest in writing it.

Basically a Project Bible is a plan of action a writer creates and uses for themselves. No two Project Bibles are alike because of each writer is unique in the way they tell a story. Project Bibles range from hard-copy, 3-ring notebooks and others are a series of master computer files.

Some Project Bibles are even as simple as 3x5 index cards that contain reminders such as the basic questions to evaluate a character:

First Name - (How is the name spelled and what subconscious reaction will the reader infer from the spelling or look of the work. That is, is the name positive/heroic, negative/villainous, or neutral/too ordinary to be a major character? What does the name mean?)

Middle Name - (Why that name? Is it positive, negative, or neutral? Does the name have a meaning?)

Last Name - (Is there a nationality associated with the name or does the name have a particular meaning—positive, negative, or neutral—associated with it?)

Initials (Initials must not inadvertently spell anything derogatory—the exception is for humor or irony.)

Nickname - (Not all characters have nicknames, but why that nickname? How did they come by it? How does the character feel about the nickname?

Another card might be for:

Body type - (How does their build help or hinder them in seeking their life's goal or the story goal or suit their occupation?)

Hair color - (Why that specific color? What traits does the color represent—or on a subconscious level, what does the color telegraph to the reader?)

Eye color - (Why that specific color? What does the color represent—or on a subconscious level, what does the color telegraph to the reader?)

. . . and the questions go on.

Some Project Bibles include very specific items like full character questionnaires, time-line calendars, maps, research material, short cuts to tags and traits, shortcuts to getting at a character's core values and morals, plot diagrams or questions on plotting (such as the Hero's Journey), collected worksheets garnered from the writer attending workshops and conference classes, and much more.

Regardless of its size or type, a Project Bible can truly minimize the frustration of dead-ends and stories that go off on a tangent.