I do think we have the infection under control, so I can continue where I left off way back on May 6th. Here are some of the ways I developed my time line for my stories.
As I worked I discovered the heroine on the top of the line, the hero on the bottom of the line (or vice versa) didn’t work. And then there were the other characters who began to appear as each scene was drawn onto the time line. All of them in black or blue ink, or pencil, whatever was handy. Then I tried stick notes which didn’t work for me, I’d lose them. It also meant going through each note to find the one character involved. So I discovered that by using a colored pen for each new major character I could follow their progress through the story, make sure they were in the right scene, and also wrap their part in the plot up at the end of the time line.
So here’s what I did. I took a used desk calendar, the big ones from Staples or Office Max, flipped it over to the blank side and drew a line running through the middle of the page, left to right. At the very top (If I needed it) I laid out the monthly calendar of the year (s) the story would take place. In some cases the months might include two or three together – like May through Aug. Of course the year (s) because I write historicals.
At the far left of the page I outlined with as few words as possible the opening scene using the colors of the characters involved. Oh, one point here. With romance the hero and heroine need to meet in the first few pages of the novel. The colors allowed me to see how many scenes there were before the hero and heroine got to meet. Big help there. In one or two stories, I had to delay the scene so the heroine and hero could meet sooner. Then using the colored pens I could sketch out (brief outline) each scene along the line.
Now this works for me. You may think it’s a lot of trouble for nothing, but if you are someone who needs to plot a novel before you begin you might find this helpful. You can even use the colored pens to identify research paper work that might pertain to one of the characters. I’ll talk about what I learned about researching and keeping that info later on. A couple of sad examples there.
Try my time line. If you don’t like it, it might give you an idea on how to modify it for you! This whole blog is about what I’ve learned. You can always share because plotting is a most important part of the novel. In the next day of two, if the infection doesn’t reoccur, I’d like to tackle as bit about conflict and what I learned about conflict in a novel. Another area where I discovered, I had a lot to learn.
Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to the blog, but my health is very iffy lately. So if I’m not blogging at the moment, I may be in trouble again. I’ll get back when I can,