Tis for

Timelines help me keep up with important dates and events when I’m writing, especially when I’m working on a series that spans three or more books.  With my Petal Pushers Cozy Mystery series, for example, I not only have to keep up when each murder or crime happens and clues are found, I’ve also got a ghost who was born in the 1800s whose history I need to keep straight.  Even if I’m working on a book that isn’t in a series, I find timelines really help me keep up with the main events, how much time passes between scenes, etc.

I haven’t found any special software for this that I like.  For To Have and To Hold, Like it or Not, I printed off a two month calendar and filled in the important stuff.  For my Time Travel Genealogy Trilogy (which is not yet finished and still needs a better title), I did plug all the characters into a file in my genealogy software because there were so many birth and death dates, but created a few separate outline style timelines to track events that happen over a few hundred years.  With  Secrets, Snapdragons, and  a Spirit, and Poison, Perennials, and a Poltergeist,  I whipped up timelines for each book and a more detailed master line on Word. And there have been other times when I simply scribbled it all out with pen and paper.

During my brainstorming stages, when I’m sketching out characters and outlining my next story, I find that timelines are a great tool to keep myself from forgetting exactly  when certain things happen.   It goes through a few changes as I write, and it’s something I always refer back to on the final edit.

Do you use them?

2 comments on “Timelines

  1. Marlene Moss says:

    I don’t use anything formal either, just a separate “notes” document where I keep names, descriptions, dates, and any other details specific to the ms.
    Marlene at On Writing and Riding

  2. blondeusk says:

    Really useful post, thx

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