Don't let this happen to you when you write. You need to keep your readers grounded. You can't let time of day, day of the week, month or season escape, or your readers will get confused, or even angry.You can cheat on the year, if you want to keep it generic, but you need to be consistent. For instance, you can't describe a 70's happening when you want the book to occur in present time, unless you're doing a flashback.
Blessing or Curse
It gets tricky to keep track of a timeline, but it's essential to do so. The best and easiest way to do this is by keeping track as you go along, but of course I chose the hard way. I wrote what I wanted and then had to face the consequences when I edited. I had to go back through the chapters and figure out exactly when each event took place and make corrections. For that, I started taking notes, but found that too tedious. I then proceeded to write events on a printed calendar, but couldn't fit them in, not to mention that after typing for so many years, my handwriting is hard for even me to read.
Inspiration struck and I did what I should have done at the beginning. I told Microsoft Word to find me a calendar, and it offered me a nice selection. I chose one with lines and columns on one side, holidays underneath, and on the other side the actual calendar for the year, with all the months, days and dates. With this calendar I can type in what I want and even change the column headings if I so desire. Mine say Events, Date, Time and Day. So far it's working pretty well.
I'm happy with my new way of keeping track of the timeline. Now I can be sure my readers and I both know the answer to the When Is It question.
What's your way? Or, maybe you'd like to try mine.
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