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How to Create a Fact Manual for a Book Series {Peek into My Next Story}

    I started my current story, Ideal Lies, last year, and this time, I decided to make it a trilogy. This story is a mix between dystopian and utopian.



Living in the idealistic northern Ideal States of America, two teenagers are caught believing in an imperfect religion and go on the run as criminals to rescue their stolen family.  

  How I managed to keep this to myself until now, I'm not sure : )

    Writing a series of any kind was something I'd never done before. I quickly found out that I needed a way to keep track of all the facts.

I tried memory. My memory failed. 
I tried little notes. I lost them.
I tried computer files. It took me too long to find what I needed.

So, with nothing else to do ... I created a fact manual.

I spent hours gleaning the information from my memory, notes, and files. I created new documents and organized facts so I could put it all together in one cohesive notebook. I documented everything that had happened so far in my book and things I new were going to happen later.

Unfortunately, holes were uncovered. Back to research and brainstorming to fill in the places of my society I had neglected.

After weeks of piecing together facts and ideas, I had created my manual. (No I had not anticipated it taking that long, but it was very worth the time.)

Here is the finished manual:

I also added maps for easy reference.


 I kept a list of characters and the places they lived because of their significance in the story. Obviously, the sticky notes were added later. If you plan to make one. Keep blank pages or sticky notes to add more facts later. More information will come.


Word makes creating graphs easy, and I could tell it to print the size paper I wanted because I used a smaller binder. 



I intentionally left space to write in information I was undecided about. (I am completely aware that I spelled Archetypes wrong on this page ... twice. Please ignore : ) 


Make sure you write down everything, even the things you think you can remember. Here, I wrote down everything about how the government worked even though it's a fairly simple part of the story. 


So, that's how I made my fact manual for writing my trilogy. And by paying close attention, you can also learn more about my story.

Have you ever done something similar to keep track of facts as you write?

Comments

  1. Oh my lands! That is so amazing! I am *so* not a planner! That is really, really cool! I want one! :)

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    1. The funny thing is that I didn't plan on doing this until I was already part of the way through : ) It is coming in so handy as I keep writing.

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  2. This could actually be rather...handy! I'm writing my own world and at the moment I'm using about 12 files not including each MS!

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    1. Some love to have all their facts on the computer. I like to have a physical reference to flip through. Good luck on creating your own world.

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  3. this is a great idea, i have a couple of fairly large pieces (one of which i havent started yet) which i could do this to!

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    1. I'm glad you found this idea useful : )

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  4. Replies
    1. It took me much longer than it should've, but I loved doing it.

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  5. You said you included maps, as well as your characters and where they live. But I'm noticing that your binder looks somewhat thicker than that would amount to. What else did you include?

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    1. I think it depends on your story and how organized you want it to be. I included heading pages for each section so that took up some space, but I included maps, the security of my country, the technology, the buildings (size, color, use), education and work system, character specifics, rules for a sport I made up, all the details about a city, the food they grow, the history, the citizens and population, family groups, a language I made up (that took a lot), archetypes, and other details I knew I would forget.

      The pages get more and more as I come up with more things. Like I said, I think it would depend on how much of your society you make up.

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    2. Thank you! That helps a lot.

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    3. I'm glad you found it helpful.

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  6. Nifty idea! I'm more of a digital person myself. I use a program called Liquid Storybinder XE which is really helpful for keeping worldbuilding stuff organized. :)

    Stori Tori's Blog

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  7. I'm having issues with maps regarding my world building. Does anyone out there know of anything free that's good to use?

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  8. Have you had any problems with the binder ring holes ripping?

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  9. This is a great idea. I have a world built for my stories, and I have a lot of information. Right now I either add it into the story, or it is just in my head. But as I am planning to make a mock history book of my world later, this is be wonderful to have all that information already down and ready. Thank you.

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  10. I do this! I have journals full of pictures and notes and maps and.... everything! I have Pinterest boards dedicated to my books. Love yours! You just gave me more ideas!

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  11. Yes! I would be lost with out my story references. I keep track of ages, traits, locations, seasons, all kinds of junk that would otherwise get lost in my brain not to mention the stack of chapters on my computer. I also draw maps and keep a small character photo. Each character has his or her own page with brief details, their likes dislikes, type of car they drive, etc. It's fun to dream it all up!

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  12. How big was your binder size? I have plenty of worlds that this would help. (I'm the kind of person that starts a story, then gets a new idea, then starts another story, etc.)

    You are so good at thinking of new ideas! I love them!!

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    Replies
    1. It's half the size of a typical binder. I enjoy the smaller, more handbook, size. But, a normal size would probably work great too : )

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