If only I had a TARDIS. I could go to and fro through the timelines of my mind and see things as they happen and make those little notes in the Bible of my Novel without having to reference 2500 Post-It notes across the schism of hundreds of spiral-bound notebooks.
But, why are timelines so hard? It’s your world, right? I mean, you made this up.
Yes, I did. But, like many works, my work evolves and changes, or I think of things later that contradict something that’s already been set down in the proverbial timeline. Or just trying to figure out how old someone is during a particular point in time. Or, perhaps, what Soldier A was doing while Soldier B was off playing cribbage with the old folks on the other side of the country. Things like this become important for consistency and continuity; the flow of your story depends on these things.
So, how do we sort all of this out?
Personally – I don’t. I bang my head against my desk, drown my sorrows in a good bottle of wine, sob in a corner, rock back and forth, then try it all agai6n on a different piece of paper. Recently, I’ve been introduced to Aeon Timeline which is helping as is putting everything in individual bullet journals. Still, I find myself referencing Aeon or smashing Post-Its to my wall behind my desk and trying to look at the “big picture” only to find that something has been overlooked, someone wouldn’t be quite old enough for what I wanted and then the table flips of its own volition… or because this is the fifth time I’ve run this particular timeline only to come up with the same results.
Is it too complicated? Perhaps. Too many events? Too many characters? All of the above are valid reasons and in my world of pure ChAoS, it happens more often than not. However, I know I am not the only one that suffers these problems. Was the main character born before the big war or after? How old are they now? What about their siblings – do they even have siblings? It all goes into the overarching world-building that narrows itself down to a single, linear(ish) timeline. As I’ve stated in the title, it can be a bit timey wimey, wibbly wobbly.
Currently I am working through the timeline for Heart of the Matter, my steampunk story that will be published by Corrugated Sky and how that relates to Clockwork Gods which is the follow-up novel due out in the fall. And don’t even get me started on my fantasy series… -_- That about sums it up.
Timelines: they are not for the feint of heart!