Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Revision Diaries (7)

Lately, I've been working on a time line for The Temper.

This is it.
As you can see, it took some scribbles and revisions to get it all right.
The circled dates are important scenes.

The story starts on Friday, June 1st, which is the only date given, so I had to work out the rest on a calendar. A calendar I had to make up because June 1st is not a Friday until 2012 (which is funny, because if The Temper gets picked up, it could be published in 2012.)

Anyway, chapter one starts on Friday June 1st, chapter two takes place Mon the 4th, chapters three four and five take place on the 5th. Chapter six covers a couple of weeks, starting on the 6th and ending on the 18th. And I probably don't need to detail every chapter here (this is probably only interesting to me *grins*) but the last chapter takes place on Friday, July 20th. So the entire novel takes place over 7 weeks during June and July.

I had to figure out all the important scenes, and which days they fell on, and I had to make sure nothing happened in the wrong order, and that the pacing was all good. It was a fun activity, and it really helped me sort the time line out so I wouldn't make any continuity mistakes (like saying Connor's first day was a Monday, when in fact it was a Tuesday.)

It does make me wonder though: I know the dates, but if someone read my book, and really tried to figure it out, could they make up a calendar from the information provided? I mean, I give the day the story starts, and to pass time I say things like "the following Monday" and "the Tuesday of his third week at Hero Headquarters".

It also makes me wonder if I could figure out a time line for another novel. Maybe I'll try it sometime...

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind lately. And if this sounds like a diversion post because I don't want to talk about how revisions are *actually* going, well... you may be on to something. Ha. Okay, really, it's not that bad. I still think I'll finish revisions by the end of the month. If I really buckle down and work at it, I could finish them a lot sooner! But we shall see.

Have you made a time line for your current project?
(If not, I recommend trying it!)


  1. I can't say I've done this. You seem detail-oriented. Looking at all those dates made my head swim. lol Typically, I keep my timelines ambiguous so they could go with any year.

    I commend your organization. If only I could do such things!

  2. I have totally done this before! And I will do it again when I revise the current WIP I'm working on. It's helps to have a concrete timeline.

  3. Good job creating a calendar!

    It would be more or less impossible for me to work on my current WIP without a timeline, since I have to keep track of events spanning over about 100 years. My timeline isn't quite as detailed as yours, but I keep a chart above my desk of important dates/years for reference.

  4. I've actually been thinking about this a lot lately too. I haven't done one but I plan to soon.

    It's the same for me. There's a date given at the start (based on a journal entry) and then that's it. I need to check and make sure tourist attractions and that are open on the right days and that they don't go to the York Minster in the middle of the Sunday service!

  5. I have made a really crude one. It doesn't have exact dates but more of time of year. It is crucial to figure out.
    Good luck!

  6. I'm an outliner, so I incorporate a timeline in with my outline. My story is very date/time dependent, so its critical that my plot points hit specific moments in time.

    I use a date/time reminder at the start of each scene so the reader knows where things stand. I believe a reader (like me) just wants to know how much time has passed since the previous scene, and occassionally needs to know what point in time they are currently at. For most stories this can be easily incorporated into the writing itself when it is relevant, but writing a suspense thriller dictates a more detailed approach.

    I also believe that making a timeline will catch/prevent plot holes from cropping up.

  7. My wip takes place during the summer. A big scene occurs on July 4th, so I had to make sure the plot time frame worked out that way.

    Great post!

  8. Kat, a calendar is a great idea. Yes, I have a timeline for my novel. The book takes place over three years and I needed to visualize the seasons/time of year of every scene so I drafted a detailed timeline with the main plot points on it.

  9. I had to figure out a timeline for my novel as well. A big event happens on my MCs birthday, so I had to work backwards from that day to know which day I started. Plus, Thanksgiving is in there, so I had to know which day that was, too.

    By the by, I love that your book starts on June 1st - it's my BIRTHDAY! And you're right about the weekend thing. My birthday is rarely on the weekend for some odd reason. :)

  10. I think time lines are often overlooked and yet very important, depending on the genre one writes.

    I had to with my latest WiP, and I didn't do it until after the first draft. Once I went back through and did the time line, it really required me to move things around and make some repairs with a few plot lines that weren't lining up.

    Great post!

  11. I did--I had to. And when I did, I realized that the entire book took place in under a week!! I hadn't really meant for that to happen...

  12. I haven't done this but I've known writers who have. And I think if you've gone through and been meticulous about it there isn't a reason why a reader couldn't go through and do the same!

  13. I JUST had to do this for my novel. My MC is pregnant, so the dates are pretty darn important. I've had to shuffle events and add scenes because her pregnancy goes right through the winter holidays. It would just be weird if Christmas or New Years were never mentioned!