So, decision time...I've narrowed down my decision-making to two for my first book – it's either going to be the first of the Battlecruiser Alamo or the first Sword & Sorcery. My reasoning is quite simple; the other two series are going to require some research. I've got the material, but I've got to get through it all, and that's going to take a little time; given that I'm trying to spin myself up to speed again (for I did very little writing in the last three months) I think the best idea is to start with two books where I can concentrate on the craft itself for a bit.
Of course, both of them are going to require significant preparation work as well; given that both of them are intended to be the start of a series, I'll need to put some time into the creation of the worlds, allowing them to support plots other than the initial opening stories. This means writing a 'Series Bible' for both of them. This is a standard tool for series just launching out; some of them diverge wildly from the series that ends up being shown, but that's fine – at this stage they are a starting point to launch from, rather than an anchor dragging you back. As long as they are updated after each book – something I should be able to do as part of the editing process after each book is written – the series will remain consistent.
I figure, with a little background reading – for each series is still going to require some research – getting Battlecruiser Alamo ready for launch will take about a month, the Sword & Sorcery probably about the same, though once all of this work is done...it's done, and I don't have to worry about it again. This is one of the other strong arguments for writing in series, of course; you do an awful lot of the preparation work for the first book, so afterwards you only have to worry about the individual story, rather than creating the setting from scratch. Indeed, likely that the first book will lead to some ideas and plots that hadn't been apparent originally...that's part of the joy of writing!
As to what should go into the bible, I think I've basically got it narrowed down to the following:
- Major Character Profiles – Personality, Background, Appearance
- Key Locations – Descriptions, History, Noted Persons
- History of the Setting
- Technology (Battlecruiser Alamo)
- Magic (Sword & Sorcery)
- Outline of First Book
That's probably going to run to twenty or thirty pages; making sure that it is properly organised is also key. I'm pondering right now whether I should do it as one document or instead use a personal Wiki; I'm sorely tempted for the latter in terms of ease of use, though if I want to do anything else with it, having a document would be considerably easier. Hell, it's the 21st century...wiki it is!
Now all I've got to do is work out which of the two to do first...I've got a pretty full weekend coming up, so I reckon I'll use it for that. Decision by Monday morning, then I start creating!