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Timeline For Your Book

Apr 26, 2008
You've begun writing your book. You have your notes about your characters, locations and other ideas you want included. You've got your basic plot thought out. Now you need to organize it all in a timeline.

I like to use a spreadsheet program to do my timelines. You can set the dates across the top of the sheet using whatever measurement of time is appropriate. Whether it's hours, days, weeks, months or years, it's a good idea to set a beginning and ending time to your book. This will give you focus and make it less likely for your writing to ramble on and on.

Down the left side I like to put the names of my characters. You may have several different stories going on at the same time in your book. This makes it easy to track who was doing what and where while the other guys were doing their things wherever and whenever. It also allows you to create a plot segment for a chapter that ends at a high point keeping your readers in suspense while the next chapter talks about another character and another set of events. This keeps your readers interested in your work and makes them want to keep reading to find out what happened.

A timeline also helps you build your plot to pinnacles or high points. I fill in the cells of the spreadsheet with my ideas then, as I write and new ideas flow, I fill in the blanks. Toward the end of your book you may want to have a chapter end with a big cliffhanger then go back to another storyline. This way you can finish your book with a big bang as you conclude all of the storylines.

Another reason for good timelines is to fill in the gaps and details, or bring up a character's background that relates to the story. You can introduce a character early in your book and have him/her interact with other characters or even be the center of certain events, but you may not want to talk about how that person got there or what made them the way they are until you get well into your story. Then, you can fill in some of the details that will make your readers say, "ah-hah!"

When I wrote my first book I developed all of my writing techniques through trial and error. But after I was finished I decided to write another book and have written a series of books about the same family. How much easier it was writing about the children of the main characters of my first book because I had created a timeline. Now, three of the books have overlapping timelines, characters and events that were much easier to keep track of because of my timeline. It also created a history for me to refer to if certain events from one book had an effect on the storylines in my other books.

A good timeline will help you organize your work, your thoughts and make you a more efficient and effective writer. It can be fun and exciting as you develop your thoughts and ideas then finally put it all down in writing. With a good timeline you can write a book that will keep your readers interested, have consistency in the storylines and characters, and keep you on track. You may even find it inspires you to keep on writing.
About the Author
gy Somers is a passionate romantic who lives in a lovely coastal community north of San Diego. She always dreamed of writing books and took several writing courses in college. Her years at two prominent San Francisco Bay Area universities included studying drama, dance, music, economics and math. And her travel adventures to China, Hong Kong, Europe, Australia and New Zealand provided inspiration for her writing. Visit Romance Novels .
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