Creating Your Novel Handbook

My novel handbook is bible for keeping everything I need to know about my world and story in one convenient place. Most authors tend to do this, but you may not know where to start so, in this article, I'm going to walk you through how to create your novel handbook and give you prompts to what you can include, and what's in my own!

How to use hashtags correctly

What is your novel handbook?

Your novel handbook doesn't have to be a notebook, if you don't want it to be. You can create a word document on your laptop, or have a folder with pages printed, or even a Pinterest mood board! The point is, your handbook is something that stores information on your novel, mostly about worldbuilding but you can include character ARCs and plot if you want to.


Start with sectioning your handbook

Your handbook should have different sections for each part of your world that you want to note. For example, my handbook has a section dedicated to characters, another section dedicated to locations and places, another section dedicated to currency and so on. Here's a list of all the sections you might want to note in your handbook.


  • History of magic

  • History of world

  • Royalty

  • Politics/Rules/Laws

  • Hierarchy/Orders

  • Locations/Countries/Villages

  • Languages

  • Seasons/Weather

  • Celebration Days

  • How does magic work?

  • How does the world work?

  • Types of creature

  • Types of person

  • Clothing/Armour

  • Currency/Trading

  • Religion

  • Food/Drink

  • Transport

  • Characters*

  • Plot*


*I choose not to include detail on plot or characters in my novel handbook as I feel, especially for a series, there is always more to add. I use my novel handbook specifically for worldbuilding and to know the history of the world which helps me keep everything in one place so that I don't have to scour through pages upon pages to find the information I want.


Now order your sections

If you are including character and plot sections in your handbook, I would suggest leaving these last as they are constantly going to change or grow. I would choose to write about the history of your world first and then write about everything else that needs to be included, such as currency, religion, etc.


Start writing

Now that you've ordered your sections, it's time to write your notes on these. These don't have to be neat, or perfect and you can go back and change as you'd like. They don't have to be pages either, just a short paragraph or two should work fine. You want this handbook to be easy to read as you'll be referring to it many times.


 

Whilst I've got you, if you're looking for a perfect notebook to use as your novel handbook, check out the below from my shop! The Where Stories Are Made Notebook is available in multiple colours, and I even have this myself!