Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Writing Tip Tuesday

To ring in the new year, let's talk about timeline and chronology of events in a middle grade novel.

It's important to go back and look at your novel as a whole to make sure the sequencing of events is accurate and logical.

One of best tools to help with chronology, as well as structure and pacing, is my handy dandy story map.

Personal experience:
I speak with the voice of experience when I say that it's easy to forget about the timeline when you're all tangled up in the story.

How to Steal a Dog was in the final stages of production when some annoying, er, I mean, very observant copyeditor got her mitts on it. She made this really annoying, er, I mean, helpful chart of the chronology of events, noting the days of the week. She also revealed a problem. My main character was going to school on weekends and was not in school on school days. Dang! I hate it when that happens. Trust me when I say this was not an easy fix - but I managed to do it. Live and learn.

After that grim experience, I now add the days of the week and/or the date to my handy dandy story map.


Anonymous said...

Yes, it helps a great deal to organise events chronologically. Though I am not as published as you are, I too use a similar technique in my long fictions: after the first draft when things are getting shape, I go through the story in one go, noting down the years, months, days and if needed the time of the day/night.
I have joined jacketflat recently under the name, manopan.

Barbara O'Connor said...

Thanks for the comment, manopan. I'll look for you over at JacketFlap.