I hate timelines.
In every book I've ever written--and a few that I haven't--I've run into problems with the timeline. And they are the most difficult adjustments I have to make every time I face my final pass at the pages, which I'm currently hip-deep in doing for a book you won't see until December.
Sure enough, here comes a timeline inconsistency again. It's a wonder I have any hair left.
The idea when writing a novel, of course, is to create the illusion that the work was done all at once, in order, the way the reader is expected to experience it. An author does not want the reader to be aware of the effort and the time that goes into the creation of the story because it might decrease the amount of enjoyment the reader gets, and that reflects on the author.
Getting all this?
The seams aren't supposed to show, but the fact is that even a relatively short novel takes months to write. I set myself a goal of 1000 words per day. So a book the size of E.J. Copperman's Haunted Guesthouse series would take a little short of 90 days to write. The average reader will consume (through the eyes) the story in a matter of hours.
So consider this: Somewhere around Week Eight, what one wrote on Day Three might lose a little of its detail in the author's mind. So whether something happened on Tuesday or Wednesday might be just a trifle difficult to recollect seventeen chapters later.
Wait, I hear you saying, don't you reread the whole shebang before you unthinkingly ship it off to your editor? And you have a point. Yes, I do read the manuscript from stem to stern before I'll even consider hitting the "Send" button. Usually, more than once.
But I'm thinking about that character moment or that logic problem or whether or not that red herring is too obvious or whether the dialogue is getting too cute in this section here or whether, heaven forbid, the reveal of the solution to the mystery makes no sense.
So even though I know for a fact that I'm going to have a timeline problem somewhere along the line because it's happened in every single other example of my work, I am pretty much guaranteed to miss it no matter how closely I read. So when those pages show up on my screen for one last pass (accompanied by the inevitable timeline chart), I get a chill up my spine in anticipation of the brain work that will encompass the next few days.
I waded through this last one, and made some changes, but I'll be totally honest with you: I'm only pretty sure it solves the problem. It's entirely possible my brain, which obviously does not function at a high level on such subjects, has overlooked the whole issue again, or complicated it even further.
What I ask of you is that you concentrate on the other aspects of the story, and if a timeline doesn't work for you, just change the day mentioned to whichever one works. I trust your judgment.
Because I can write dialogue and develop characters. I can come up with ideas for stories that have enough nuance to keep a person reading for 300 pages or so. So far, six novels in the series have made it through the process, and I'll begin work on #7 within a month or so.
I'll make some timeline error in that one, too. Please. Consider all the other things I do better, okay?