by Liz Flaherty
How can it be September already? I swear, school just got out a few days ago—life’s timeline is flying by. It makes me think of timelines in books. Because I have trouble with them, too.
In one book that was contracted and completed, the publisher wanted the timeline to be shorter. Really? It started with an important spring event and ended at Christmas. How am I supposed to change Christmas? Well, I didn’t, but I did change spring into summer and it worked all right. Ten years or so later, I’m still wondering what difference it made.
I love novellas. I like writing them and reading them. But occasionally their timelines will give me
I like stories where the timeline is long enough for the emotions to go deep. The impending stepparent gets the opportunity to find out their true love’s little darling sometimes is a brat but for the most part is more pleasure than pain. One partner gets to find out the other one not only looks like Medea in the morning, her personality is crap until she’s drunk plenty of coffee. Or, when he goes back to work after the weekend, he’s not really “up” for whatever sexual games she may have in mind to play four times through the night because he’s asleep in the recliner.
I suppose the setting of the timeline has to do with urgency. I know it’s important so that you don’t make logistical mistakes (remember Barbara Hershey digging up the garden in Indiana in the wintertime in Hoosiers?) When I write, I always start out keeping the timeline very neatly and completely; by the time the story is finished, I have cryptic notes like “you can’t drive 800 miles in an afternoon.”
Now that I’ve written this—in 39 minutes and counting—I’m not sure why I did. But Happy September anyway, and if you’ve ever happened onto any timeline errors of your own or anyone else’s, we’d love to hear about them.