by Joan Sowards
I took a job in my young adult days in the purchasing and billing department of a lumber company. The training was one-on-one, learning several tasks, but for some reason I just didn’t get it. I felt lost, as if wandering around in the dark.
Finally, a few days into the training, it all clicked, and I realized that what they were teaching me wasn’t merely a bunch of different tasks, but the steps a bill goes through—start to finish. (Had the trainer told me up front?)
Knowing this one little fact turned on the light. I made a diagram so that I would remember the process order.
When writing a novel, we may find ourselves wandering in the dark, so-to-speak, and losing track of the events of the story. After writing 60,000 words we could become confused about what happened when. Spreadsheets, outlines, 3 X 5 cards taped to the wall or spread across the living room floor are a few methods that may help.
While writing my novel Haunts Haven, I got to the point I felt that I was wandering around in the dark trying to get the timing of the events correct. The story takes place over a few weeks. I pulled out 3 X 5 cards and started listing scenes in order and then put them vertically in their weeks until I literally created a visual of my story. I made a few adjustments, found places I needed to fill in the story, and made sure everything happened in order—not getting the cart before the horse. (Please excuse the cliché, but it is a great visual here.)If you have a method that helps you keep track of your story, please leave a comment explaining what works for you.