Grappling with the Timeline

Last week I really struggled with the timeline of the story. Trying to overlay the chapters to an actual calendar spread of the months that the story was going to span proved to be really difficult.

I started this piece of the process for two reasons. First was because I wanted to see what the physical timeline of the story was, as in how many days or weeks was there between key events within the story. Secondly, and really importantly, was because this story, being a magical story based on specific celebrations that happen on specific days of the year, I needed to see if the important moments were lining up with where they should happen in relation to those big celebrations. What wound up helping the most was writing out two different monthly spreads and then writing down within those weeks/months where the chapters were happening. With this method, I was able to see where the longer gaps were happening between events and take advantage of that space.

Last week I ended the first act of the story and launched into act two. When I wrote the chapter that was the key moment where that happened, I was so excited to see how my characters were going to react to what happens. The scene played the way I thought it would and the moment was good, but it felt like it went slightly off the mark from what I was aiming for. The action was there and the main character now has the motivation to do what needs to be done, but it feels like something else didn’t quite make it onto the page. I’m going to let it settle and continue on because I believe when I go back through to revise it, I’ll figure out what’s missing. After I wrote the chapter, I had to step away from the writing for a few days. It means I’m a few chapters behind what I thought I would be going into this week, but I purposefully didn’t schedule any revision or writing for this week which means I can catch up. This week I’m going to catch up on the writing and take some time to write notes/draft the chapters I’ll be writing the week after. I find that scaffolding the scenes and chapters based on my notes from the story sketch really helps me when I sit down to do the actual draft of the writing. It’s a bit like having the paper map to a place in my hands before actually walking the paths and trails of a new place. I know my future self will thank my past self when I sit down to write those chapters and find the map waiting for me.

In case no one has told you today, you are more than enough. Please share the message with someone else if you can.

Happy Writing!

2 thoughts on “Grappling with the Timeline

Add yours

  1. Oh my god I am so envious of your writing organization! I’ve been bumming around trying to figure out where my story is going and finally wrote a sentence for the three upcoming chapters and thought I was being a super planner LOL

    Also, I cannot wait to read your new story!!!


    1. I tell you though, this timeline is fighting me hard! I’m still fiddling with it, but I might concede to the fact that I’ve got to just get the draft done and then revisit gaps and holes later. That’s awesome though. I can’t wait to see where those three sentences take you and to share this story when it’s complete!


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