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Timelines and Other Organizational Necessities

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One of the first things my editor at Charisma House taught me during the edit of my first book was to keep track of my timelines. I'm now almost done with my second book and am doing a better job this time around. My editor, Lori, explained it this way.

TIMELINE (brief summaries of each chapter, with key events/timing noted. Not all dates are actually mentioned in text, but are given to help keep chronology and timing indicators accurate).





However, as I lengthen chapters and scenes or cut chapters and scenes I have to go back and look at the timeline to see where it needs tweaking. Timelines are important in your book. It's a  technique to help you keep track of what your characters are doing and when and where they are doing it.  Last week I read a post over at The Killzone that helps me to know that I'm not the only one that struggles with this issue. If you read through the comments section you will find some advice.

I've heard a lot about Scrivener lately. I don't think this will be new to any of you who own a Mac, but I don't. However, I have recently downloaded the Beta version. Scrivener for Windows  I think a newer version, also a free download is coming out February 25th. I'm hoping this will help organize me. I've also been using Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method. The Snowflake for Novel Writing 

Now when I write I put a date, time and place at the top of each of my chapters or scenes as needed. You'll also discover that it's important to keep track of your characters. I like Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Pro for this. You can keep track of it on paper as well but this way you don't lose it.:)

Since I'm also writing a series, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, with Book One being Secrets of the Heart I have to keep close tabs on what characters are in each book, what they look like, and all those other character traits and flaws that are important. It's a daunting task but as I learn I'm getting better at tracking timelines.

So how do each of you keep track of all these necessities?  How do you organize your writing? What's worked well for you?


  1. I just bought Scriviner, too! And I use Snowflake and a timeline. It is hard to keep track of it all, but I think I'm finally figuring it out as well.

  2. Hi Anne,
    So does that mean you bought it for Windows or for Mac? I can't wait to talk to you further about how Scriviner works. Thanks for sharing.