Time Passages

One of the hardest things about writing a novel is keeping track of time.

Not just keeping track of the time you spend lost in your imaginary world–although that’s a problem too. When you’re in the zone, a day passes in a blink.

No, it’s the time passing in your novel that’s hard to keep track of. I have a tendency to jam-pack my characters’ days with more events than they could possibly experience in a twenty-four hour period. Sometimes they get up in the morning and have lunch twice and dinner three times before they even go to bed. In my latest, my very observant editor noted that one character had spent several Saturdays in Denver, even though she’d only been there for a week.

The problem is compounded when you edit, changing the order of scenes. Sometimes afternoon seems to come before morning, and the sun sets before lunch.

So once the book’s finished, I go through and write out a timeline for every event. This helps make sure my hero and heroine don’t have their first kiss, with attendant fireworks, after they’ve already slept together twice. And it ensures my heroine doesn’t have sex with the hero before she even meets him. Yeah, that happened once.

Those romance heroines are a feisty bunch.