I need to get a big piece of paper. I’m not talking legal size (8.5 x 14), or even ledger (11 x 17). No, I need something that’s a couple of feet wide and several feet long.
Why do I need such a sheet of paper, and what does it have to do with writing?
Easy. I need to build a timeline.
It’s a funny thing that I’ve learned about myself; I’m typically an auditory learner, but when it comes to my spatial and mathematical skills, visual rules. I can’t take verbal directions, I need to see a map. And when it comes to the chronological layout of the Butterflies overhaul, I need a giant timeline!
Right now I really need the timeline for two reasons. I need to decide the order of some of Mara’s story that isn’t time-specific, so I’d like to have her chronology worked out. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like one thing builds on another until you try to piece them together with other things! I also want to finalize where in the story the book ends, and for that I need to visualize how it will overlap with the other two (probably three) books that occur in the same timeframe.
Even the decision on what will happen in which book requires a timeline! Will the fourth book go back as far as the first three? I know it will have to include some time overlap. Plus, there are two stories from separate books that intertwine before the rest of the lines come together, so I need to figure out how to work that in as well.
Every time I start to play with these details, I come back to the need for a timeline. This weekend, I’m getting a roll of paper!