My Writers Circle

Writing => The Writers Circle => Topic started by: Aviola on June 18, 2018, 11:43:17 AM

Title: Keeping track of timelines
Post by: Aviola on June 18, 2018, 11:43:17 AM
Hi everyone,

My first novel pretty much just followed the two main characters, so keeping the timings of events in order was pretty simple.
The story I'm working on now is meant to be more of an ensemble, so I was wondering if anyone has any tips for assembling it all?

Title: Re: Keeping track of timelines
Post by: Mark T on July 03, 2018, 06:16:42 PM

Transitions can be tricky to handle well consistently. Broadly, one thought is to give the reader due credit by not overwriting or being too telly when making a leap.   
Title: Re: Keeping track of timelines
Post by: geethr75 on September 18, 2018, 01:53:05 AM
What I do is I open an excel file where I have different sheets for all the different characters, places, clothes, events, timelines and whatever else I may need to keep track of during my writing. It helps me keep everything straight. 
Title: Re: Keeping track of timelines
Post by: Gyppo on October 22, 2018, 05:22:57 PM
I'm old school on this.  I use proper paper Post-It notes, or bigger bits of paper with the relevant bullet points and have them stuck on a wall where I can see them at a glance.  At the house I had a 4' x 2' whiteboard.  It was a glorious mix of Post-Its and dry-wipe notes and arrows.

This was to the right of my chair, so it was just out of sight when I was working, to avoid distraction, but all I had to do to check something was turn my head.

In the bungalow I have shelves there, but I'll be buying a big board which I can lean against them.

I am a great believer in notes on walls, and doors.  I do have the advantage of living alone, so can do pretty much as I want.

If the expense of a big whiteboard is a problem then a sheet of thin whitefaced hardboard will do, provided you don't leave the dry-wipe messages on there for too long in the sunshine.  When it gets too stained just replace it.

Or use a large paper flip chart hanging on the back of a door.  Most people don't think to utilise their door space ;-)  Think big and write big, it makes life easier.

It can also help to have a physical timeline marked up on a long strip of paper, with branches leading off to short notes.  This will highlight if a particular section is getting too congested, or looking too sparse.  (If you write some scenes out of sequence then cut and paste them into the story this can help make sure they don't appear after they're dead or before they were born.)