My editor recommended setting up a timeline for the current fiction I’m editing. The story line was really messed up. I had the scene where Mr. Main Character shot the guy before the scene where he chose the gun! (Maybe not that bad but just about!)
So I made this spiffy calendar. After a search in iPages and Word, I settled on Word: Templates >Print Layout View>Banner Calendar. I personalized it for what time of year the book takes place–April. Labeled it with the name of the series: The Great Escapee and Book One–Jailbird.
From there I just printed it out and filled it in.
I scanned each chapter from about half-way through the book to the end. I wrote in each chapter under what day it occurred. As with everyday living, many scenes happened on the same day at the same time, depending on what character was involved.
Shock? My book only lasts about ten days, calendar time! Took me two years to write!
What I learned: 1) Pete exploding in anger in Miss H.’s office has to happen after Clarence spends a night in jail and is released, 2) there are a cluster of scenes that have to be sequenced perfectly in order for everything to fit and make sense, 3) my editor was right! It works! She even suggested I make a timeline of the last day, hour-by-hour. Making sure everything again, fits together and makes sense.
It really pinned me down as far as writing deeper. Not being lazy. I had to take the extra time to write what time of day it was. And not some gimmicky, “she looked at the clock and it was two in the afternoon.” But instead, “The birds twittered as they settled in for the night.” Evening.
I share this in hopes that it helps you learn from my mistakes.
Leave a comment below if you have any suggestions or ways this post helped you!
Have a great creative week!