by Terri Wagner
The devil is in the details as they say. And one detail that keeps tripping me up is timeline issues. Now, I know you’d think this would be an easy detail to keep straight. However, I seem to get it wrong more than I get it right. I recently read a twology (I didn’t know they made such things, but leave to sci fi to come up with it) and nearly laughed out loud when I realized yes indeed they had messed up their timeline. Made me feel better. Course when you’re dealing with elves, dwarves, warrows, men and fairies, you don’t really have to be that right because who can say you’re wrong?!
It seems easy enough to keep straight morning, noon, night, midnight, but seasons give me a headache. I’ll have an ice skating party, then want it to be early fall because suddenly someone has to travel and how can I have them traveling in the 1800s in the bitter winter? Yes, I realize some of our gallant pioneers did just that, but it was after all under necessity. And my particular characters are not in that desperate a strait. Although, hmmm, that’s an idea!
Painfully, I am learning what a very successful writer once told me: write down your characters, your locales, your timeline and your plot, THEN write your story. Doing it any other way means endless editing on details that cause you to miss bigger issues. Ones you can bet no publishing company editor will miss. I thought it would interfere with my creative spirit. I also thought it would be reducing it to some scientific experiment.
Maybe I really ought to listen to the “habits of highly successful writers,” eh?