I have spent the last two days working on my timeline. Somehow it got messed up. I knew where my characters were at; I knew who was there, but I lost when.... *g* As I said, it took quite some time to figure out when I was for each scene. It's done and I've edited it. I've just got to go back into my MS and make the changes in the file.
When I have so many characters and settings and times, things get complicated. I sit and wonder if writing a picture book wouldn't be easier.
NO! Definitely not. It took me a full year to write the giraffe story. Last year at this time I was sending it out to publishers. The responses and some new critiques were inspiring enough to make me go back to the story and make some changes. So this November -- *shudders* -- it will be a full year since my first attempt to get it published. Insane. And that's only 250 words.
'Blue' is now over 51,000 words.
The reason I work so hard on the timeline is that it will eventually become my synopsis. Writing a one-page, five hundred word synopsis after I've written a seventy-five thousand word book can be daunting. So I try to update it while I'm doing the book. The format I use is a timeline.per chapter.
For me, the timeline/synopsis also works as a backwards outline. Instead of writing the story from the outline, I write the outline from the story. Personally, I don't want to know what happens in the story before I write it. That might sound insane - and it might be - but one of the kicks I get out of writing is reading the story as it's written. I get all the suspense, angst, sorrow, and every other emotion that I hope my reader will as I write. To me, writing an outline is dry and dull and blah.
Other folk really love doing an outline first. More power to them. I do what works for me today. I'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.
Life is definitely not an outline.