WRITING FEATURE Book Bibles (part one)


Call it what you will, a book bible (or story/series/novel bible) can be an extremely useful editing tool. Fran Price talked to author and book bible devotee Annaliese Avery to find out more.

What is a ‘Book Bible’?

A book bible is a comprehensive document that is full of information pertaining to every aspect of your story. Think of it as your own personal Wiki to the world, characters, and story that you have created.


Annaliese's book bible helped keep track of the magical world she'd created in her debut book, The Nightsilver Promise.

How can it help children’s authors? 

A book bible can be ridiculously helpful when editing your story and especially handy when you are creating a series, it helps you to keep consistencies in place and allows you to go back and look at aspects of the story quickly. I’ve also found it beneficial to share my book bible with my editors, but it’s good to remember that you don’t have to share it with anyone if you don’t want to – your book bible is first and foremost for you.


An online resource for book bible creation. 

(Source: thenovelsmithy.com)

Who invented this wonderful tool?

I first heard of a book bible from friends who were creating series bibles for their work so that they could keep track of the evolution of their stories over many books. I later came across it when I was doing my MA in Creative Writing as a scriptwriter’s tool, which is where the book bible originated from – it makes sense that big movie franchises like Marvel would keep a bible of the world and characters to share among their creatives and that’s just what they do.


However, it’s not just stories in a series that can benefit from a book bible, as this is first and foremost an editing tool it is useful for all stories.


I started by creating them in a notebook and then I moved over to a google doc that I could share with others

How did you develop it?

When I first started, I didn’t really know how to create a book bible. I knew that it needed to contain a lot of information, but I didn’t quite realise that the information that needs to be in the book bible has a very different purpose to the information that I need to collect when worldbuilding and developing ideas.


So, when I started to develop my book bibles, they were quite organic and not really book bibles. I started by creating them in a notebook and then I moved over to a google doc that I could share with others (I now only create digital book bibles) and I realised later that I started creating my book bibles too early.


Annaliese's sequel, The Doomfire Secret, will be out on 7th April 2022.

Oh ok, so when's the best time to create a book bible?

The best time is after the first draft, when you have quite a lot of the story and the world sorted, and when you have discarded some of the inspiration and ideas that didn’t end up in the story. This was a key learning element for me – realising that the book bible is an editing tool and best created at the start of the editing period not before.


It is part of an editor’s superpower, being able to see these connections – a book bible is a way of you sharing a little bit of the inner workings of your creative mind

What are the benefits?

I have found that the key benefits of creating a book bible are solidifying ideas and getting them straight in my imagination, being able to keep a track of everything when creating large and intricate works of fiction, and allowing others to glimpse behind the story to my thought process and creation. I’ve found it very valuable to share my book bibles with editors, they get a deeper understanding of the manuscript and can often find things in the book bible that we only touched on and they realise have a much deeper connection in the story – it is part of an editor’s superpower, being able to see these connections, and a book bible is a way of you sharing a little bit of the inner workings of your creative mind so that the editor can see those golden threads and nuggets shining more brightly.


It also helps me to see if things are necessary and where they can be linked and threaded while I’m editing – a quick look at how something fits into the story through character, setting, or plot, helps me to decide if it is needed in the narrative or if it can be deepened.

*Header image: by Kourosh Qaffari on Unsplash


Annaliese Avery is the author of The Nightsilver Promise and its sequel The Doomfire Secret, which is out 7th April 2022. In 2020 Annaliese was one of SCBWI’s Undiscovered Voices winners. Since then her books have been received with much acclaim both here and in the US. Annaliese is an active and inspiring member of the children’s writing community. www.annalieseavery.com


Fran Price is Deputy Editor of Words & Pictures magazine. Contact her at deputyeditor@britishscbwi.org

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