|Building the Hoarding|
So what have I been doing if not getting ready for the art show? Well, skiing. The spring skiing has been fabulous. We have been going skiing a couple of times a week with friends, and last weekend I had a chance to ski with my son and daughter.
|Sunny Day at the Ski Hill|
My service group sponsored an Easter Egg Hunt, which I helped with. I hosted and cooked a family dinner for Easter. As well, I have participated in dog walks, attended a community talk, and spent time with my grandsons.
And there's more! Here is some exciting news. A friend and I are part of a new local writing group that has just formed. I recently attended a "meet and greet" organized by the Federation of BC Writers, and the people present at that event decided to organize ourselves into a writers' group. We have had our first official meeting.
I am so excited about writing again that I have resumed working on my novel. I have finished chapter 26 and am starting on chapter 27. I am getting near the end! Of course, once the first draft is done, the revisions begin, and I cannot say that I am looking forward to revisions.
The other night, I wrote until late at night, finishing chapter 26. As I drifted off to sleep, my head was swirling with ideas and fragments of paragraphs to write in chapter 27. But then I woke up with a problem. (I guess my brain had been working on the novel while I slept.) I realized that my timelines did not line up properly for the plot to unfold the way that I had planned.
You would think that in a novel that takes place decades into the future, timelines would be pretty flexible. However, throughout the book, I have been building a world. And in the logic of this world, I have created the necessity for certain events to unfold a certain way.
There were two main time sequencing issues. Two characters are having babies, a couple of months apart from each other. Somehow, I had miscounted the due date for the first birth by several weeks. I couldn't just change the date easily, because I had already written about the birth and tied it closely to a certain season of the year. I had also miscounted the due date of the second birth, in this case only by about two weeks, but this also was problematic because I am intending for the mother to be doing something during the plot climax that is very physically grueling, and she would not have planned to do it if she had just given birth. Just as in real life, these fictional babies are being born at inconvenient times!
So the next day, instead of steaming along writing chapter 27, I spent hours recalculating the math for the dates of the births and other events. I corrected my timeline notes. Then, I went back and read through several chapters, and made corrections so the timelines would work out.
With this novel, I have kept a number of files of notes, supplementary to the novel. I have a list of characters with details like their age, appearance, relationship with other characters and so on. I have made a timeline of major social and political events in my imaginary world, both preceding and following the period in which my story takes place. I have written notes about the backstory. I have a list of chapter names along with the page of the manuscript on which each chapter starts.
For those of you who write fiction, how do you keep track of events and their sequence in a piece of writing as long and complicated as a novel? I would be curious to know about your method. I imagine that dates would be especially tricky to manage in historical fiction, and also when writing a memoir or biography. I look forward to your comments.
And, yes, I am avoiding doing my art by writing instead. Perverse, I know, but at least the creative juices are flowing.