I'm knee deep in writing the fourth book of The McClain’s: Bound by Honor, Faith and Love. And I realized that I hadn't done a time line for the book. So I got out paper and pencil, drew a straight line and marked off the days starting with the Tuesday that the story begins and then wrote under each day what events would take place. I realized I had a couple of events out of order, so I rearranged those. Good thing I hadn't gotten to them in the writing yet.
Keeping track of all the pesky details can drive a person crazy. Each writer has different ways of organizing their details. I've heard some use sticky notes or index cards. There's a new phenomena, or maybe not so new but new to me, called storyboarding. I just can’t seem to get motivated to get that organized.
I do a penciled flow charts and a penciled timeline and write in the margins on my synopsis. I like the flexibility of using a pencil because I can erase anything that doesn’t work or move things around. Even though I plot my books as much as possible upfront, I can still maintain some room for new scenes or new directions and using the flowchart helps me see what choices my characters can make.
My next book will be book 6 of the Without A Trace continuity, titled Her Last Chance. Talk about trying to keep track of details! Continuities are rife with all sorts of tidbits that need to be interwoven through each story and keeping them all straight takes all of the authors working together, which is what makes continuities so much fun and challenging. And I like a challenge. That’s probably why I write.