Before I begin this post, let me make sure we're clear on something: I'm not writing a series. The books I'm working on are a collection of books that go together. They're all set in the same town, and many of the characters' are revealed more fully in the other books.
That said, I am creating what I'm calling a "series bible." Because the books are interwoven in many ways, I thought it would be helpful in keeping things straight, as well as planning ahead as I'm working on the coffee house book.
Right now, my series bible is in a five-subject notebook I had around the house. Here's what's in it so far:
The first page is a list of the books I'm planning, along with a brief description of each one. These serve as a quick reminder as I'm putting all the information together. It's got everything from the coffee house book to the waiting book (What? Did I just give away another of the books I'm thinking about? Whoops.) in it. That page is done unless I decide to write additional books, but what I have will keep me quite busy for quite some time.
Coffee House Book Notes
As I was thinking about the coffee house book, I jotted down some things I wanted to remember as I was planning and writing. A few notes are about some of the characters, some things about the coffee house itself, and reminders to myself for while I'm writing.
Cast of Characters
Since I only have the outline for the coffee house book so far, I only have the cast of characters for it. But each book will have its own page of characters, with notes about characters who are also in other books. The list also contains a quick note about who the character is. (ex. Vivi (Vivienne) is the coffee house manager, drinks espresso macchiato, is planning the anniversary party, and her story is about how she came to work at the coffee house.)
Again, since I've only outlined the coffee house book, I only have a rough story line sheet for that book. It's not as detailed as my big outline, but is just a reminder of what the story is about, should I need it.
Coffee House "Chapters"
This is my "biography" of the coffee house. It goes through each year of the coffee house from it's opening/first year through its fifth year. Each chapter gives information about what was going on in the coffee house at the time, who was important, how business was doing, etc.
That's all I have so far, but it's a start. Since my character biographies are so extensive, they won't be in the series bible, but will be in a separate folder (or folders) nearby so I have easy access to them.
As the coffee house book develops, I know I'll add to the notebook, and as I'm writing the next book, I'll be able to use the information from the coffee house book to develop the characters and the world I'm creating.
Just as with the biographies, there's going to be a lot of information in this notebook that will never be in the coffee house book.
Oh, the things writers do for their stories.