Time is a troublesome thing

TimeIt seems like I’m often trying to juggle my time. Work, writing, church, family, oh, and time with God–gotta squeeze that in, right? It can seem impossible. And it probably is. I tend to want to squeeze too much in–to overbook myself in the vain hope that somehow it will all work out. Even though it pretty much never does.

Yup. I see you nodding your head. You do it, too.

Which is one of the reasons I was excited to have TOTAL control over the characters in my novels. I anticipated being able to do whatever I wanted with them in the time frame that suited me. How fun is that?!?

But time is a troublesome thing. And if two characters say, have a child in book one, then in book two that child will be a specific age which may or may not be the age I had in mind. Okay, so shift the setting of the book up or back a bit. No problem. I AM in control.

But wait, now I’m setting my story smack dab in the middle of a world war or other major event that I’ll have to mention in the novel. But I don’t want to mention it. Okay, shift another year or two and change somebody’s birthday. Got it.

Uh-oh. If I’m going to shift that birthday, then I have to adjust three other people’s birthdays because I need them to be a certain age, which now means somebody was born when their mother was eight. Poop. (My favorite Christian expletive.)

And so on. I have a family tree that now includes characters from four novels. And once that first novel is in print, there will be NO shifting dates. The foundation for my time frame will be set in stone.

So much for the feeling that I can control time–at least on paper. Somehow, it gets away from me even there.

Now what year was the Spanish-American War? Cause Frank Post had to be old enough to go fight, but not so old that he’s well, dead by book 2. And Henry needs to be at least a sophomore in college, but he couldn’t have been born before 1955. So what year is it again? Sigh. Time is slippery no matter what you do.

7 thoughts on “Time is a troublesome thing

  1. I tried using Excel, and couldn’t track my characters worth beans.

    So a wall chart went up, with vivid Magic Marker’d annotations. It was a lot more reliable, and a lot more fun!

    I’m in awe of people like you and Susan Howatch and JK Rowling, though…I can’t keep my characters on the clock for a whole chapter without rewriting! Can’t imagine a multi-book epic.

  2. I have been struggling with a time issue in my writing too. I need a child to be at least a certain age but then it becomes weird with what another character has been doing in the meantime. Btw, I love your new pictures!

    1. Yes, time weirdness. Do you ever just want to fudge it and hope no one does the math? Tempting, but I feel certain I’ll get called on it if I do. Sigh.

      And thanks–I’m SO pleased with the photos!

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