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Keeping your world organised


I've been planning a book for some time, and over the past six or so months of planning, I've accumulated a ridiculous amount of material. Basically every time I have an idea I scribble it down on a piece of paper, and chuck it in a draw in my desk, and write lore and history of my fantasy world on pages documents and in notebooks ect. I guess a lot of it is in my brain, far more than I've written down, partially because my world is so vast and rich in history and culture, I've never gotten time to sit down and write and write the lore of my world. The other day, I tried, and quickly realised the scale of my world was too big to be put on paper (entirely). However I do write key information down, so that I can consult it while I'm writing, just to double check things. Only now I've come to begin writing my book and found that upon all my pieces of paper, the information contradicts each other. On one piece I wrote a city was founded in the year 200, on another I wrote 450, the names of the various households vary from page to page and the overall plot is a mess of sticky-notes and SEVEN notebooks all filled with writing.

I really need to organise my world building into ONE source, one place where I can consult and have information that I know will not change or be different when I am writing my book. I guess the first thing I need to do is construct an official timeline of my world and the plot, I have made several, but I need one that is set in stone and will never change. Does anyone know of an efficient way of trying to keep all your lore and timelines and plot info neat and organised? I've tried pages documents, and now I seem to have 11 pages documents which all have lore on them and are a mess. If anyone could direct me to a spreadsheet or story-planner template or something, or just give tips on how they organise their world and story, it would be much appreciated.


I have a book of the world, with a 6 page table of contents in MSWORD 2007 with all levels of headings to keep it organized.
Afterwards I broke the books down and try to cut and paste to keep the encylopedia up todate.
monsters, magic, characters, geography, with short stories included in the whole. So far I haven't needed a time line.
The TOC in word will take you to the page/item you want.(thats why I uses all levels of headings, 9, I think)
My characters are cross referenced with family friends and short stories they are in.

I tried one note, basically a notebook for the computer, but when I saved it the format was lost. Basically everything was everywhere on the flash drive.


I only use Word and index cards, but I have everything written down. I have a character list with their physical features and biography. I have each nation anthologized separately. I have a section on magic and a section titled canon theology. I also have a glossary of all proper nouns - every character and place is mentioned no matter how significant. If I am ever unsure as to consistency I can check these areas.

It does sound like you have a lot of organizing to do. I would suggest that you start writing and whatever you end up writing about, keep that as the actual fact. Start erasing stuff you don't need as well; you've got a colossal project to attack and you need to start somewhere; pick a random notebook and go. Add another dozen hours to your day and you should be all set hehe.


Here's a couple of threads that might help.



Basically, I keep all the world info in one file, under headings of things like, Social Structure, Commerce and Trade, Law and Punishment, Arms and Armies, Ancient History Recent History. These are arranged in a country by country section. Orders, Magic, Creatures, will each then have their own section within the document.

I keep all the character info in a secondary file. Including profiles, specific info that must be consistent, and events that have happened, will happen, that form their past. I have family trees here as well.

The Outline and story plan is another document. It also has the timeline, and any changes that I need to make.

The biggest file though is the ideas file, where I have typed up all my ideas into some sort of chronological order.

I also keep a notebook guide for specific info I need to check on.

As a tip... if you are using word learn how to use the heading function and the document map. It helps to navigate through large files including your master script file. Hyperlinks on a spreadsheet will also help to find files on your computer. This will act as a sort of index to take you straight to what you need.

So I have files for...

World Guide

Character Guide

Outline and Plot Plan

Plot Ideas


And everything backed up regularly. I've had a few file corruption issues in the past, and more recently... yesterday. But I didn't loose everything, only the weekend's work.
Hi TheokinsJ,

I use a great novel writing software called writeway pro. I thoroughly recommend it, it has screens for character profiles, scenes, notes, prologues, you can customize everything to your needs, it has built in thesaurus. You can colour code everything, you can print your manuscript from it, or even publish an E book. Its very organized! I love it, so many other features too! You can download it for free for 30days to try it out. and after that its only $25. Good luck!