If so, this guide is for you.
You will be spending a lot of time with these pages, so choosing a paper that suits your needs is what is most important. I have most often found what I needed using artist sketchbooks. On the other hand, a number of pretty leather bound books I found on markets proved to be unsuitable for writing in ink.
So when choosing your book, ask yourself: What will you put on the pages? Do you want to use ink, or pencil, or charcoal? do you want to do watercolor or will the paper remain dry? Do you want the paper to be slightly translucent so you can use a line sheet? If you unsure if the book you have bought suits your needs you can carefully remove a pair of pages and perform some tests with the materials you want to use.
If you have chosen a book for its quality paper, it might not look they way it should, so let’s change that. You can use any material you want, like Paper, leather, cloth, tree bark, metal bits… but if you want to take your book everywhere I would recommend sticking with sturdy materials like cloth or leather.
Filling the book
Now here is the intimidating part… a LOT of empty pages waiting to be filled. There are a few things that work well for me and a few things I have optimized over the years. This is by no means the only way, but it is the way I will always recommend to others who ask me for input.
Its a process
Start (roughly) where you are now with whatever your character does at the moment. Do not try the immense task of starting ten years ago and recording your whole character’s history in handwriting.
I started in 2011 on a random larp by taking notes on the plot. afterwards I transcribed these notes into a book. No special first page, but If your book should have one and its blocking you, you can always leave the first page empty and add it later
Not every page will be perfect.
There are a lot of crappy pages in my book, some by design, but most because I made a mistakes, or just had a day with bad handwriting.
In my songbook I used white paint to correct mistakes and keep readability, but in the diaries these pages are part of the whole experience. Also, the technichques and styles used change all the time.
I actually have two sets of tools I use. One to take to larps and one I use at home.
During a Larp I often only take notes and do sketches in pencil and then finish the pages at home, but if there is time I also write directly in ink.
I also glue things like notes, copied images or pressed leaves in, but try to not overuse it. Extra pages add thickness, and will strain the binding eventually.
Its okay to skip stuff. Nothing of note happened during a game? Just continue with the next one.
Need more time to do that particular scene justice? leave the page empty and continue with the next one for now. But try to not build a mountain of stuff you still want to add, but instead try to keep the book in a state where you can always write into it during a game.
Thank you for reading, and I hope this helps you in some way to realise your own projects. If you have any additional questions or think there is a topic this guide should maybe cover, feel free to leave a comment below.