image of a timeline
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

It’s the 47th day since I started my self-imposed 55 day writing challenge. The idea was I needed to finish my work in progress, The Brittle Sea, which was a little bit in the doldrums at 53k words and I wanted to get it to 90k. So I set myself a challenge to get the first draft done in 55 days. Why 55? Maybe because I was born in 1955, who knows, but it seemed a good idea at the time. It’s not been easy, getting up at 5am every morning for a straight 47 days is pretty tiring, especially at my age, but it’s happening, the magic is working, I’m in the zone and the story-line is revealing itself to be quite good, in my humble opinion.

So today is day 47 and I’m at just over 80k words, which works out to about 230 pages for a standard paperback. I now have nine days left to bring the word count up to my target of 90k and I think my first draft will be complete.

One of the many things I’ve discovered on this little voyage of discovery is how to create a simple timeline in MS Word. I suppose the same could apply to other word processing software. I always write with the navigation pane displayed, it gives me a clearer idea of where I am in my story as I tend to write in scenes. I get a heading, put that in and then write the scene. These scenes, over time, become multiple scenes within a chapter. What I do struggle with is a timeline.

If your story depends on a particular set of dates over a period of time, like mine, which is from a specific date, the sinking of the Titanic, to the end of another date, the end of the First World war, then here’s a simple trick. In each chapter heading I put a specific or at least general date in front of the heading. This is useful if you have a lot of chapters, which my novel currently does, 85 in total. But as I look down the list of chapter headings I have an idea from the chapter title what it’s about and from the date, even if it’s only June 1914 – War, where it fits in to the grand scheme of things.  It works for me.

Onwards and upwards and I’m looking forward to a bit of a rest in a few days time, maybe even have a lie-in and get up at 7am on day 55.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019

You can read a few free chapters of The Brittle Sea starting with Chapter One by clicking here.

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