Friday, November 03, 2006

The Importance of Time

Last night, in between loads of laundry, I dug out my hardcopy of my novel and tried to figure out my timeline. Not quite ten minutes into it, I realized I had a major problem. I started my story too late. I needed to go about a month back in time.

Since my novel is a historical and takes place during World War II, I need to make sure my dates correspond with what's going on in the world. In fact, lots of my story revolves around those important dates. So even though I would write, "Two weeks later..." in my story, I discovered last night that I really need to know exactly what date two weeks later would bring me to.

Thankfully, the wonders of the Internet supplied me with a calendar from 1945. Now I can plot each and every date I need and know that it is historically accurate.

Do you use a timeline to plot your characters' lives?


  1. Yes, actually, I do. But the events I have to concern myself with have more to do with what stage the moon will be in on a certain date, what time the sun rises and sets, when the leaves will change color, and what the average temperature in a certain location will be during a certain season.

    But even once I figure that out, I typically have a point-by-point timeline with events "scheduled" down to the hour. And it's color-cooridinated by character, so I know who's doing what at any particular time.

    More than you wanted to know, huh? ;-)

  2. Since my mains are children, I don't timeline much. Their lives are very know the they always have, and always will be children.

    And my stories (so far) have been very linear with respect to time.

  3. You are a brave woman to tackle this kind of subject! :D That's why I chose science fiction in the very near future -- nobody can call me on things that haven't happened yet.

  4. Oh yes! I must have a time line. In my time travel the heroine's buddy was pregnant, so I needed to make sure it progressed correctly. I didn't want anyone shaking their head at me.

  5. I love the Internet cos look at that, in minutes you had a calendar from 1945. How cool is that?

    I sometimes use a timeline - it depends on how long the story is.


  6. Well, I recently read that, when writing a mystery novel, you must have timelines for ALL of your characters. You have to know what each of them was doing minute-by-minute at the time of the crime, before and after. Where was each suspect? Does he/she have an alibi? Yikes, the logistics of keeping track boggles the mind. I'm imagining a HUGE wall-chart.

  7. Oh, yeah. I use calendars and even check phases of the moon (they have that info for the past out there on the net), so when my characters walk at night I know how much moonlight they'd have had. I also use TimelineMaker Basic to draft a timeline I can print out. Plus keep my hard copy, month by month calendar handy.

  8. Yes, although a more detailed one for the vintages than the paranormals.


I love to hear from you!

New Digs

I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance!