Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nailing Down the Dates

This week I have ended up working on something I hadn’t had in my mental list before. When I wrote Tangled Strands and all the times I’ve worked on it in recent years, I’ve had only vague generalities in mind as to when things happened. I knew the story opened on a hot August day (but not which day). A major event and a whole new part of the story began with “a biting February wind,” but again no date. I had the baby being born in “early June,” and the events leading to the climax happened Labor Day weekend, but in between those anchors all I had were those vague generalities.

This week I’ve been trying to chart the scenes, including verbalizing how each scene contributes to the advancement of the plot, and I ran into a timing problem. I had Larry calling his mother “a week after” Chris came to see him—but that didn’t put the time anywhere close enough to the spring break he was talking about.

That got me looking up once again the calendar for that year that I’d already located and bookmarked on the Internet. Then I realized that, because of that “spring break,” I really needed to know the date of Easter that year. Again, the web came through. Easter was March 29. That helped a lot, and I managed to nail down several dates. However, since one of the major events is tied to that spring break, I’ve begun to wonder whether it is a problem that I never mentioned Easter in the story. Hmmm.

As you can see, one thing leads to another. At times like this I wonder if I’ll ever finish getting it “into shape.” So far, I’m confident that all the things I’ve talked about in this blog are things that would matter to an editor and that might make a difference between being accepted for publication or not. Or at least they are things that I would have to fix eventually, even if by some chance I should be offered a contract before having done them.

So I keep plugging away. Lord, help me make better use of my time. Help me have the wisdom to make quick decisions about what needs to be done. Help it to come together in ways that will glorify You.

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