Tag Archives: timelines

Writing

Timey-Wimey Stuff

I have just done a hatchet job on Grow for the second time, and I’m hoping it’s better for it.

The first time was about 6 months ago when I realised a major fact was wrong. I panicked because I thought that was it–the story didn’t work any more, I’d wasted all that time writing it, and I may as well chuck it in the bin. I didn’t. I worked hard to shuffle events and rewrite parts and I saved it.

This time was due to a comment from one of my fabulous critique partners. She gave me an epiphany (it’s okay, it didn’t hurt) and I changed one of the key points at the beginning. This, of course, had a ripple effect through the rest of the story and I was left with a bit of a plot mess to clean up.

As it stood, Grow took place over four months, September to December, which means I have a few things to work around. School holidays come at the end of September, and exams start in the middle of November. A lot of things, due to their very nature, have to happen on the weekends. Others have to take place during school. The holidays really got in my way. So I decided to try to condense the whole story down and start after the holidays but I didn’t know if I could fit everything in. So I laid it all out.

I printed out a calendar and attached little sticky notes of all the key scenes. The later scenes (let’s call these collectively “part 2”) had to stay where they were, because we work our way towards Christmas. So I started shuffling the early scenes (“part 1”) forward. They had to jump 4 weeks to get past the holidays. Then I had to make sure everything still worked. This is where the sticky notes came in really handy. I could actually move them and see how things fitted. The story felt more intense because everything happened in a shorter amount of time.

I also had to cut. Some bits could be cannibalised into other scenes but some perfectly good scenes just didn’t fit any more and I had to hiff them.

There’s still work to be done. I need to take care of continuity errors (something that happened “last week” might now happen “yesterday”) and ensure the tone is still right for each scene since some things happen earlier than they did. But I think it works.