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“Creation of Time” by Max Mitenkov
They say that timing is everything. While it may vary in prominence and importance for a story, it’s always a good idea for a writer to know how long it takes for things to happen. Having the ages of characters and timeline of events written down and referenced periodically during the rewriting process will help you maintain both continuity and pacing.
Note that I said, “during the rewriting process.” Timelines and continuity checks are part of the many cycles of editing. Unless you are one of those ultra-detailed planners who lays all of the groundwork before picking up a pen, a timeline isn’t something you should be using until after at least the first draft is complete.
For example, when I write, I usually have a month or so of planning where I pull together a basic plot line, character descriptions, and overall tone of the work. In the character descriptions, I put at least an estimate of how old they are supposed to be. This can fluctuate later, but usually only within a few years of the initial age-setting. As I write my first draft, I have a rough idea of how much time passes between events. It’s a day or two from their initial meeting to their first fight, a week until their marriage, a few hours until that important breakfast, and they spend two or three months in this locale. These aren’t set in stone, nor do they have to be 100% accurate at this stage. In Draft 1, it doesn’t matter so much if I say it only took a week to travel 200 miles on foot or something like that. All I need are estimates, if that, to give a basic temporal framework.
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As a writer currently slogging through her second round of editing, the light at the end of the tunnel looks farther away than ever before. I guess everyone starts to flag at the end of the race, but I can’t help but wonder: am I taking too long? How to other authors do it?
Go to Fantastic Fiction, search for a popular modern author, and take a look at their publication dates. Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, Debbie Macomber, Fern Michaels, John Sandford, David Baldacci, James Patterson + Another Random Author… all of them release at least one book a year. Some release two or more! And I end up sitting there, jaw on the floor, asking, “HOW?!”
Click HERE for the Audio Edition!
This is a little exercise that David Greenshell shared with me the other day. Take a few minutes and watch the video below. DO NOT SCROLL DOWN UNTIL YOU HAVE FINISHED!
We still need your help to save Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice from their untimely cancellation! While online petitions are great, writing letters, sending e-mails, and making phone calls are much, much better. If you would like to help save Green Lantern and Young Justice, please take a look at this site to learn contact information, Twitter hashtags, and more. Together we can make a difference!
END SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.
Okay, now that that is off my chest, we can get into the meat of this post. Although I’ll admit that my entries have been a little lean lately. Nearing the end of a project seems to slow my momentum rather than increase it. But I did want to create a companion entry to “Page Counts, Words, Rosemary, and Time.” “Page Counts” dealt with my own schedule and how I use daily word counts or time spent to move forward. While writing that entry, I wondered if any other fantasy authors, or authors in general, did something similar. Did any of them measure their progress by counting pages? Or did they set aside specific blocks of time to work? Or did they just write all day long? I know each author has their own way of doing things, but I also like finding trends.
This year, I made the commitment to complete The Mariner Sequence – Book 1: Ravens and Roses by the end of 2013. I have committed myself to, not only finishing writing it, but also editing it. You’d think I’d be happy about this. And, in a way, I am. I’ve made significant progress. I just broke 180 pages yesterday. This is the point that writer’s work towards, the place where many fall down. The hardest part of any work is finishing it.
And I’m terrified.
First post of 2013! Here’s hoping it’s better than 2012.
On my last entry, I asked my readers (or any other random passers-by) to ask me questions. What kinds of topics would you like to see me write about? The first is paraphrased as follows:
A) How do you write consistently every day?
B) How do you decide to measure your progress: with word/page counts or time spent? Which is best?
The first week of National Novel Writing Month was glorious. I was consistently ahead of my daily word count, I had a routine that not only allowed me to write, but encouraged me to write. It got me off to a good start so that when I flagged in the middle of the month, I could still grind through and reach a total 50,065 words. I’m not entirely satisfied because a significant portion of my NaNo entry was fan fiction and various rants about life, but it achieved its purpose: it established habit.
I have never felt quite as focused on writing as I have in that first week. Writing became all-encompassing. My world. My life. And while everything else crumbles around me or changes at lightning speed, I have created some rather intense writing mantras. They may not be for everyone. But these mantras are what give my life structure, my existence meaning, that keep me moving forward when all I want to do is break:
This is my life now. There is nothing beyond this computer in this room.
The rest of my life is nonsense; writing is the only thing that matters.
THERE IS NO LIFE! THERE IS ONLY WRITING!
This is the point. This is it. This is the reason I exist.
Write every day.
Everything else is my life is fluff. It’s extra. This, writing, every day, is what matters. Not my day job, not socializing, not even my family.
I recently read a book called iDisorder, which was recommended to me by my onii-san, David Greenshell. It’s about how the pervasive technology around us has encouraged the widespread development of behaviors that have the same symptoms as mental disorders, such as OCD, ADHD, addiction, narcissism, depression, and schizophrenia. I highly recommend it because so many behaviors that seem “normal” now in relation to technology maybe shouldn’t be granted an exemption from concern.
Before I go any father, let me just say that I am not a naysayer to technology. I have this blog, don’t I? I also have numerous accounts all over the web, I own a cell phone (not a SmartPhone, thank God), and I probably spend more time than I should on Facebook and Twitter. I suppose I am a little different from the majority of my generation because I do not have internet access at home, nor do I own a laptop, tablet, e-reader, or any other device that would allow me ubiquitous access to the world wide web. Sometimes this is frustrating, even inhibiting. It’s hard to look for, or even consider pursuing, an online job without a constant internet connection, and my friends can tell you just how furious I was to hear that Diablo 3 didn’t have an off-line option like its predecessors.