Benefits of Using a Wiki for a Series
Today, we’re going to talk about the benefits of a wiki when writing a book series. For those that don’t know what a wiki is, it’s like an online encyclopedia. You can use it to build out your world and characters is an easy-to-use format. Check out the wikipedia for Game of Thrones as an example of how it can be used. There are some obvious perks and some not-so-obvious perks to using wikis when you’re writing a series of novels.
The first perk that comes to mind when I think of the benefits of a wiki is character biographies. You can put in as little or as much information as you want. When you design a character, you have a lot to figure out. You want to come up with their physical description, their history, their quirks, and their personality. Having a wiki will allow for you to design a character — and remember everything about them! For example, you can be very broad and say that they come from a large family. Or you can get very specific and list all their family members’ names. This way when you’re writing, you can simply check in your wiki if you forgot that distant cousin’s name.
You can get even more detailed with characters, adding things such as their favorite soda flavor or how they like their coffee. I remember once making a mistake where my character’s dog switched genders halfway through a book series. This was because I didn’t feel like hunting back through the other books to remember if it was a boy or girl. Having things like this written down in a wiki makes life much simpler.
Just like characters, it can be great to come up with biographies when building a fantasy world. You can start very broad, simply writing down the different continents. Then you can start creating kingdoms, empires, countries, or whatever land archetype you’re interested in. From there, it becomes more detailed. You can link to pages about religions, politics, history, and even weather patterns! I know this was extremely helpful in my own book series, as I was able to simply double-check what kind of weather existed in a certain kingdom.
The way the wiki is formatted is completely up to you. Therefore, you can make a main page that is very simple. You can list regions by bullet point. Then those bullet points open up to detailed pages about the specific region. This allows you to easily find what region you want to read about without having to scroll through thousands of notes.
Minor and Recurring Characters:
When writing a book series, we’ve all had that moment when we realize that we need a small character to push the plot along. Having a section in your wiki about minor characters and their attributes and traits can be very helpful. For example, if you need a law enforcement character, you can look and see if you already have one that’s mentioned in another book that might be able to make a reappearance. I know in the Afterlife Series by Kaitlyn Meyers the author reuses several police officers encountered in one book in several future others. This keeps things consistent, and also keeps your cast of minor characters from becoming too large and complex.
Having consistency with minor characters is important too. You don’t want readers to realize that a character’s eye color went from blue to brown. Or that a character went from being a detective to a regular police officer. Consistency is key to engaging readers and not taking them out of the moment.
Wikis are Easy to Use:
You might be concerned that even though there are benefits of a wiki, that it’s just too hard. This is a misconception. Setting up a wiki and then filling it out can be quite simple if you use the right one. I personally recommend using dokuwiki as I’ve found that it’s the easiest to manage. Just take some time to read up on the different formats and you’ll be golden.
Using a wiki to keep track of characters and regions has saved my writing more times than I can count. Therefore, I recommend it to anyone that is planning to write a book series. You can fill it out in advance, or fill it out as you write. The choice is all yours.