It’s July! Sheesh. Time is zooming by.
With it being the first Wednesday of the month, it makes it time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. What’s making me insecure this month?
Time. Except, not in the way I typically lament it. Sure, I would love a few more hours a day to be able to work on my writing, but right now, I’m just trying to get everything to line up in my story’s timeline. I’ve mentioned before that I write out of order. A couple of NaNoWriMos ago, I wrote 50K worth of one character’s POV, and in that amount, there’s two earthquakes, a day apart.
Now that I’m getting to the other POVs, I’ve realized I don’t want two earthquakes. It doesn’t jive well for moving things forward. To resolve this, I’m taking out the first earthquake, but that means I have to rearrange scenes and adjust my timeline. So, I’ve set aside my momentum to rework the events. It doesn’t bode well for me keeping up with my accountability partner, but I can’t move forward until I’ve got it all timed right.
IWSG Question of the Month: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?
If I were to only pick one, I’d have to say: I need to get multiple opinions about my work. Different people have different strengths. Some are awesome with grammar, others can really grasp the emotions. People might disagree with the quality of work I’m producing, and comparing the feedback has helped me learn the difference between personal preference and something that really needs to be fixed.
Have you ever had to change your story’s timeline? What lessons have you learned? How is time treating you?
About Insecure Writer’s Support Group
You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.
33 thoughts on “Aligning Events #IWSG”
Oh yeah, I’ve had to change my story’s timeline. It took hours and pages upon pages of notes and calendars for me to straighten it out. I couldn’t move forward until it was fixed, either. A necessary evil.
And multiple opinions are vital. That’s how we learn and grow.
LOL! Time trouble, eh? Yeah, I think I can freely say I’ve been there, done that. Including multiple time periods. Thank goodness for outlines to help keep us straight on this stuff, eh?
I also helps if some of the feedback is about the same thing. Having a few eyes on my work is a great way to bump it up. 🙂
Anna from elements of emaginette
Yup. I get one story time and then keep coming up with origin stories for my series worlds.
Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit
The few times I had to rearrange my timeline in stories drove me bonkers! Good luck. I agree we do need several different eyes on our stories. My CPs and betas are all different too. They help my books come together and form a giant robot, I mean, solid stories.
Oh gosh, I think I went mad the last time I had to massively adjust a timeline. Spent so long figuring out what I had and where it fell. Then even longer on how to break those events apart so I could stuff something else in there.
I’m working on a minor timeline adjustment now. x.x
And having different types of reviews is great. I tend to keep 2 types of beta readers: critique partners and readers. It’s definitely been interesting to see the feedback as much as it might drive me nuts sometimes.
Great point about different readers having different strengths! I find, too, that when a number of readers say the same thing – whether positive or negative – about a character, scene, etc, it’s definitely worth looking into.
True, the more feedback you have the better one can ascertain what really needs to be fixed and what is just opinion. Time can sure be trouble all its own haha
Adjusting the timeline is always a challenge but at least you caught it before the story was completely written.
Actually I’m a the middle of a time paradox right now. I added a bunch of new characters into my WIP and suddenly all the storylines have gotten muddled. I realized only when I got to the end that three days had passed for one group of characters while another had done everything in one night, but they all ended up in the same place and time. I may have to fix that at some point. Or just say that time works funny in my world. 🙂
I almost always have to adjust something in the 2nd draft with the timeline in my novel. I always mess it up somewhere because I depended on my brain to keep track of something instead of putting it on paper.
I never thought about the individual strengths before but I really like your reflection. Good luck pushing through your writing 🙂
I came up with an idea once that I hated, mostly because it meant I had to put a lot of work into it. I decided a moment that happens in the last chapter needed to happen earlier, which threw everything off that happens afterwards and will change the actual ending. It was like tossing a grenade into the plot. I’m still figuring it out. Good luck with rearranging your timeline!
I’ve never had to make major adjustments but I did have to make my five book series fall in line with the timeline since most of the stories overlapped.
I had to adjust and rearrange my timeline. I let it get away from me once and had a mess. Now, I keep a timeline chart of event/days/hours.
If it’s a big earthquake, there are usually many foreshocks/aftershocks and if the two characters are far enough apart, one might feel it while the other might not. Good luck with your revisions.
Keeping the timeline of your story straight can make a big difference. I always try to keep notes about what happens to whom and when. It’s especially important when you write a series.
I always have issues with time in my stories too. Usually my beta readers or crit partners are the ones to point it out, saying they want to know how much time has pasted throughout the story.
“I’m taking out the first earthquake” sounds like something only we writers would understand. ^_^ I’ve done all kinds of rearranging with my plots over the years – to use an example you would recognize, I once had the order of worlds that the crew visits in Starwind go differently, so Lukas got set on fire much earlier. I realized that it kind of screwed with his character arc and made things too easy down the road, though (along with some other stuff that I ended up cutting), so I had to swap that around. Oi.
When I had beta readers look at my short story, I was intrigued by the different perspectives they had and the suggestions they offered. It definitely helps to get a wide variety of takes on your writing as some people focus on certain aspects and other folks focus on other aspects.
It’s so interesting (and impressive) to me that you wrote that whole NaNo story from one POV and then are working that into an overall novel. I don’t think I could ever do that! It seems so confusing to me and I feel like I’d never get the timeline right. Good luck and I know you will get it all sorted into another great novel. 🙂
I adjusted the timeline of my first novel 2 or 3 times after valuable input from the writers’ group that I was in. The final timeline was far better and I have ensured subsequent first draft have more realistic ones.
The biggest thing I’ve learned about timelines is to make notes as things happen! Since I’m a pantser, I sometimes forget and have to waste time going back and fixing things.
Yes indeed. I like getting multiple feedback also. Sometimes, it is annoying because the opinions are so far out there but they still help me get a grasp on what I think I need to do.
All the best with your revision.
Pat G at Everything Must Change
Timelines can get us writers into a world of trouble. I’ve had to get a real calendar out to figure out my timelines for my stories.
I agree with you that different people have different strengths when it comes to writing. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Timeline? Mine is all over the place. I do a lot of ‘snippet writing’ (if that makes sense?)
Maybe one day, I’ll somehow align all the snippets, juggle them this way and that…and voila! My story will start to fall into place!
(Ha! I should be so lucky…a girl can wish, hey?)
I seem to lose track of timeline a lot and then I have to go back and straighten it all out. That can cause a lot of problems! But yeah, one earthquake sounds like enough for people to deal with, lol. As for others’ opinions, it really is amazing how much others’ perceptions can differ from our own. Great CPs can help us get the best out of our stories.
Oh man, that’s tough. You have my sympathies. Reworking something that major mid-draft is not going to be fun, but at least you noticed it now.
Time is going by way too fast for me, and it’s shredding my deadlines. Can’t believe we’re halfway through the year already.
Yes. Multiple opinions are good – especially if they have the same message. It gets a little confusing when you get contrasting ones.
I’ve learned patience. Things don’t come quickly in the publishing world.
Fiddling with a time line is delicate work. I’ve done it and it can be painful, especially for longer works.
Timing is important. I can really get confused with a story when the timeline is not quite right.
Most of the important things I’ve learned have been through other people. After that it’s personal experience, but there are some things we miss unless we get another opinion interjected.
Tossing It Out
I agree with you with regards to CPs. I try to never have fewer than five looking at my work during any given editing round.