One Way To Handle Lore

Hey folks! Because a fan asked, and I’d mentioned it on the podcast I co-host not so long ago, here’s a quick piece on how I do a story bible for my books when I need something reasonably complex yet easy to navigate. I use something called Zim Desktop Wiki. Here’s how I use it.

1. Install

I grabbed the portable app from here. Double Click it, pick a place for the install, and you’re done. For the purposes of this little test, I tossed it on my desktop. When you see this screen, you’re ready. Go ahead and leave “run” highlighted.

Alternately, you can open up the place you installed it and double click the executable.

2. Get Started

First, name your notebook. We’ll call this one Big Sigma.

You’ll end up with the “Home” page open. I like to start laying it out like this.

Just type the headings you like, and while your cursor is on the heading, go to Format->Heading 2 or just press Ctrl+2.

Once you’ve got your headings, start filling them out. You can leave these non-headings.

3. Fill in Details

Pick a section you want to fill out and highlight it. You can either pick “Link” from the top bar or press Ctrl+L.

You’ll get this window. The top box is the name of the file/article. The bottom is the actual text of the link. If you have a red box, it means you put something that can’t be in a file name, like quotation marks. Just remove them and everything should be fine.

The name should now be a hyperlink. Click it.

You’ll get a fresh file that’s blank.

Lay it out however you like. I like to fill out some headings and do the Ctrl+2 formatting thing, then start typing.

Hey! We mentioned Squee and Ma! Let’s highlight them and Ctrl+L to make articles for them too.

Note that every file you start filling out shows up in that Left Pane there. Now let’s click “Home” to get back there.

Now that you’ve written articles for Ma and Squee, you can link them here too. Highlight “Ma” in the character section and Ctrl+L.

If you type the same name as what shows up in the Left Pane, or if you click Browse and pick the “Ma” file, it’ll link to the one you already wrote. Note that the TEXT can be whatever you want. Only the “Link to” has to match the previous name. In this way, everywhere a character or name shows up, you can link to their file. I often find as I write a Bio, I’ll realize characters I think need to be added, and just highlight the text and write the article from there, then add them to Home later.

4. Get Fancy

You can do other stuff like insert images and do fancier formatting. I usually don’t, but go nuts!