The Importance of Keeping Track of Time and Days in Your Story
Though The DaVinci Code was a major bestseller, I had a big problem with all that went on. Certainly it was exciting, with one peril escalating into another, but I kept shaking my head and thinking, “This is impossible. All of this couldn’t have happened to the hero in this short a period of time.”
When writing, though a lot of action should take place, it’s important that what does happen is possible in the amount of time depicted.
Some authors do a whole story board with each scene depicted, what’s going to happen, and when it’s going to happen.
I’ve never done that, nor do I outline the whole story. My process always begins with the characters. Because I write a series, I already know many of the characters, the new ones will have something to do with the main plot, in most cases a murder victim and the suspects. I do keep 3 X 5 cards with important information about ongoing characters including what kind of cars they drive. (Though I still seem to have trouble keeping track of what colors the cars are—thank goodness for editors and a publisher who pay attention.)
Sometimes I’ll just do a simple calendar with the days of the week at the top and the major occurrences during each day at the time they will happen.
The one time I didn’t do that, the editor from the publishing house sent me a note that Friday was missing. She was right. I jumped from Thursday to Saturday, which meant I had to do some major rewriting.
Because my Rocky Bluff P.D. series always tells the story from multiple points of view, keeping track of the days and what time things are happening is even more important. For the latest one, No Bells, I used a notebook to keep track of my days and times.
I’d already written some notes about the way I expected the plot to go, but it doesn’t always happen the way I think it will, as the characters tend to take over once I really get moving on the writing.
As I write the book on the computer, I keep short notes on the pages of the notebook under headings like Monday, a.m. It also helped me keep track of the clues and other happenings while the plot unfolded. When I couldn’t remember if I’d already told about something, or a new name I’d come up with, I could easily find it in the notebook.
Of course there’s no set way to do this, but the point is to figure out a way to keep track of your timeline so you don’t cram too much into one day, or like I did, lose a day completely.
My latest, No Bells, takes place over about a little more than a week’s time. A short period of time, but a lot happens. Officer Gordon Butler takes center stage as the woman he’s in love with becomes the major suspect in the murder of her best friend.
No Bells Official Blurb:
Officer Gordon Butler has finally found the love he’s been seeking for a long time, but there’s one big problem, she’s the major suspect in a murder case.
F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels—and a few that will never see print. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, from Oak Tree Press, is No Bells. F. M. (Marilyn) is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves as the program chair for the Public Safety Writers of America’s writing conference. She’s been an instructor at many writing conferences.
CONTEST: The person who comments on the most blogs on my tour will win three books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series: No Sanctuary, An Axe to Grind, and Angel Lost. Be sure and leave your email too, so I can contact you.
TBR: Thanks for visiting TBR, Marilyn. Best of luck to you.