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View Full Version : Need Advice in Timelines



AquaRoxas
November 28th, 2014, 05:46 PM
As a writer, this is probably my most significant fault. I tend to write on and on, and forget tiny details which I wrote earlier, which messes up the timeframe of the story. I mess up the dates of certain events. Any advice to stop this nasty habit?

Riis Marshall
November 28th, 2014, 06:28 PM
Hello Aqua

If the timelines are really complicated, such as, for example, several separate actions going on in different places, set yourself up a spreadsheet in Excel where the columns are separate actions and the rows are times. I know this seems like a hassle but you'e absolutely right about getting it right: you can't afford to have somebody doing something a few hours after they have been murdered or whatever.

You also have to remember whether the gal or guy was pointing a semi-automatic pistol or a revolver at somebody because the pistol has a magazine while the revolver does not. See Fletch by Gregory McDonald.


And you're right to be concerned about it because when you're really on a roll and the words are coming well, it's quite easy to forget something important. Remember Robinson Crusoe swimming naked out to the shipwreck and returning with things stuffed in his pockets?

All the best with your writing.

Warmest regards
Riis

Morkonan
December 16th, 2014, 08:50 PM
As a writer, this is probably my most significant fault. I tend to write on and on, and forget tiny details which I wrote earlier, which messes up the timeframe of the story. I mess up the dates of certain events. Any advice to stop this nasty habit?

Both things are not written in stone - You wrote them, you can change them.

Is what you wrote that deviates from the main time-line good? Is it worth keeping? Can you do that by editing the timeline? OK, then do that - Edit the timeline. What matters is the quality of the story, not whether or not you worked rigidly within a timeline that you created, yourself, anyway.

If it conflicts with the timeline and there is no easy fix, then that's when you have to be tricky - Use your skill. Find other ways to communicate this information/scene/event to the Reader. Don't throw it out just because it's difficult to pigeonhole into your story. Keep working at it. If it's good, then it should probably be in there.

If you just tend to "paint outside of the lines" too often, you're going to have to make a judgement call. Nobody can tell you what's best for your story. If your wandering aggravates you, draw out your timeline, print it out and tape it above your desk. When you feel yourself wandering, glance at it to see if you can "guide" that wandering a little bit. Use your inspiration, but try to take some ques from your time-line on where it should lead you.

Getting caught up in the moment can lead to some really good work. Base your judgements on what makes for the best story, even if you have to edit your timeline. If that's difficult, then try to find other ways to include your inspired piece. If you've just completely gone off your rocker :) , which happens even to the best of writers, train yourself to keep your timeline in mind by creating a formal timeline and just keeping it in front of you, within easy reach.

And, if it's just about getting dates and the sequences of events correct, use the editing process to correct those errors. Be sure to have your timeline in front of you and refer to it often.

shivanib
August 20th, 2016, 05:57 PM
Try tools like mindmap or workflowy to aid in your writing. The tool I'm building has a timeline feature but it's primarily for writing goals and milestones. I bet there's timeline apps out there to help you create a timeline for your story.