Today Joy's going to talk about the issue of timing in writing. Certainly something I've tripped myself up over. Take it away, Joy!
Have you ever read a book and found that the timeline isn’t right or one thing or another didn’t get tied up satisfactorily? I know I have.
I think about these things with each story I write and get antsy, usually close to the end of each book. Distraction was a challenge because of the nature of the story (one character takes frequent trips down memory lane) and the fact that there are three main characters.
It was fun to weave all the stories together and resolve most of the plot points, however, it took a fair amount of time to wrap things up nicely. Aside from a general edit, I had to take the story apart, print and compile it in three units. By doing this, I was able to read each woman’s story in isolation to ensure that everything was in the correct sequence and individual problems were sorted out properly.
One round of editing took care of the timeline. Apart from being listed by the character’s names, the chapters run by dates. I’ve gotten used to writing all my novels this way—that is posting at the start of each chapter, something like, Wednesday, Week 3. This makes it easier to track the timeline from start to finish and allows characters to make accurate references to things in the past.
While this might sound like a lot of work for one novel, editing was a lot easier because I’d already laid the groundwork by noting date and time when writing each chapter. D’you do things any differently? If not, how do you keep track of time in your stories?
To celebrate the release of Distraction, I wrote a prequel, A Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Steps to Distraction in which you’ll meet Dionne, Kyra and Justine a year before Distraction takes place. I hope you’ll like this taste of friendship and things Jamaican. Download your complimentary copy from Smashwords.
At the end of this Friendship-is-Forever tour, there’ll be a main prize of a Distraction note pad & pen and a $10 Amazon gift card. The second prize is a paperback copy of Distraction. Sign up for that at the Rafflecopter here.
I haven’t yet touched on friendship, which is the theme of this tour. How strange is that? I will say that the craft that we share does so much to bring people together. Were it not for writing, my path (here in Jamaica) wouldn’t have crossed Nick’s (way over there in Scotland). And so it is with many other writers I’ve met on the internet.
Nick, many thanks for letting me take over your blog.
J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican and the author of Contraband, Distraction, Dissolution, Don’t Get Mad…Get Even, Giving up the Dream and Hardware (pen name Jayda McTyson). Campbell is always on the lookout for story making material, loves company and can usually be found lollygagging on her blog at http://thecharacterdepot. blogspot.com.