Hey everyone! It’s Clara Kensie, back with a new Question of the Week! Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as writing is talking about writing. So each week here at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
January 12, 2014
What’s Your Favorite Timeline Method?
Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, at some point you will have to make a timeline of your plot. How do you make yours?
I do my timelines by hand, with a pencil, on a printed calendar. I’m a plotter, so I like to have a general timeline before I start writing my discovery draft, and I get more detailed with each subsequent draft. Since I write YA set in contemporary times and my protagonists are high school students, I go online to find a high school calendar from the US state my book is set in (so far, my books have been set in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana), so I know all the federal, state, and local holidays that schools would be closed. I note any school events that occur: homecoming, spring break, etc. Then I fill in my plot events. Once I have my printed calendar filled out, I transfer the dates into Scrivener, which is my writing software. I still keep my print calendar on hand for a “big picture” reference.
There is software called Aeon Timeline that is supposed to be excellent, and it syncs with Scrivener. I’ve downloaded the trial version. It looks very complicated. One of these days I will have to learn how to use it.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? How do you make timelines for your manuscripts? Do you make a chart? A calendar? Do you keep it simple, or do you make it elaborate? If you use timeline software, what do you use, and why do you like it?