Monday, September 3, 2012


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.


  1. I do a bit of both, write the outline from what I've written and write from the outline. :-)

  2. Timelines are hard to pin down sometimes, aren't they? What happens when and in which order is very important to what I write, particularly since I'm dealing with lots of things happening at the same time in different places! I've spent much of the day figuring that out today, and putting it into outline form. I'm one of those who works from an outline to get my thoughts flowing, but once I'm "in the groove" I don't necessarily stick with it. It's not an extensive one, either, usually just a few points I want to make sure to cover under each section.

  3. I think, Judy and Margaret, that the conclusion is more do what works for you than being tied down to a certain rule.

    Glad we all write. Isn't it glorious!