When does your story take place? Does it span days, weeks or months? So many events transpire during the course of a book, but how do you keep them all straight?
We all know about plotting a story, but have you ever kept a calendar of your story?
I’m a visual person, not to mention somewhat detail-oriented, so trying to keep up with what my characters were doing and when they were doing them became a challenge. I got tired of scrolling back through my story to see when this or that happened. Then, one day, I spotted a calendar from years past and inspiration struck.
I could use that calendar to lay out the events of my plot. I’d know exactly what day of the week the Inciting Incident happened or if there were any holidays I could incorporate into the plot.
Today I use downloadable/printable calendars. Whether you’re an old-school-give-me-a-hardcopy type or an I-have-it-on-my computer person, they’ve got you covered. Calendar Labs is my go-to site, but you can Google “printable calendars” to see what site works best for you.
One option I like is that I don’t have to use the current year. Sometimes a story calls for something to happen on particular date, but I need that date to be on a certain day of the week, so I’ll look for a year when those two things coincide.
(Don’t worry if you didn’t follow that. The blonde brain can be a difficult thing to understand.)
Once I have my calendar(s), I lay out the events of my plot that will then become scenes. And I always pencil them in. Because as we writers know, nothing is ever cast in stone. Sometimes a scene you thought would happen in chapter ten seems a better fit for chapter seven.
Often, I skip days, in which case I need to make sure to address that passage of time when I start my next scene. But one look is all it takes for me to know how much time has elapsed since the last scene.
Needless to say, calendaring your story isn’t rocket science. It does not take the place of my synopsis/plotting chart. It’s merely a visual aid, an at-a-glance reference to keep me on task and make sure my timeline is correct. And it also satisfies that detail-oriented person lurking inside that likes to drive me nuts.
So what do you say? How could my quirky calendaring benefit you?
It took Mindy Obenhaus forty years to figure out what she wanted to do when she grew up. But once God called her to write, she never looked back. She’s passionate about the craft of writing and touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. Her debut novel, The Doctor’s Family Reunion, was named a finalist in American Christian Fiction Writers’ 2014 Carol Awards and her second novel, Rescuing the Texan’s Heart, is a finalist in the 2015 Carol Awards.
Mindy lives in Texas with her husband and two of her five children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her grandkids.
Businesswoman Celeste Thompson has one goal: to make her restaurant and hotel a success. She doesn’t need any distractions, even from handsome contractor Gage Purcell and his two adorable little girls. Besides, single dad Gage is just biding his time before a big job at the mines comes through. But as Celeste’s project springs to life, their arguments transform into attraction. Gage isn’t looking for romance, especially not with another career-driven woman like his ex-wife. But openhearted Celeste is more than just another work-consumed client. She might just be his happily-ever-after.