So, in the last few weeks, I've been thinking about time in my stories. While Sand and Blood only covers a few short weeks of time, excluding the epilogue, Sand and Love is stretched out across months and years.

I seem to like stories that do this. The weekly serial I just finished was seven years from the beginning to the end. There were a couple chapters that summarized a year, but for the most part the chapters were scenes that, when put together, became a much larger story of the main character's growth. The RPG games I run seem to be the same way, though I had to thank my players for that. The ten-year D&D game ended four centuries after the first group of players woke up in a prison wagon. Over the years, the players adventured, grew older, got married, had children, and some of them even died of old age. And it was awesome.

Time is a component of the novels I'm working on right now, not only inside a given story, but also in relationship with each other. Rutejìmo's story (the Sand series) touches against Kanéko's (Flight of the Scions). Yes, Rutejìmo would be in his mid-forties when Kanéko turned twenty-six and the two will never meet each other, but the two stories do reflect the events of each other and other ones I want to write in the next few years.

True, plans never work out the way I want them to, but its still a future goal. It's like writing the serial. I couldn't go back and edit earlier chapters. I had to have the little hooks and plans as I write, so I can later hook on to them with a different story. Might be fun, might be a disaster, but only time will tell.

Of course, this also means I need to keep the relationship of these stories in mind. It's one thing to say "ten years later" with one series, but keeping track of all the plots, past and future. It would be bad if I forgot the order.

Which is why I'm thinking about time. Since I'm not writing anything right now, I'm working on some of the maintenance part of writing. One of them is figuring when and where things happen. I need to do this not only at the novel/story level, but also at the chapter. That way, probably around book seven, I'll be able to overlay the novels and show their relationship together.

It doesn't matter if I won't be able to pull it off, but I think it will be awesome if I did. Which means I need to A) write enough novels to make it work, B) keep track of the details as I write, and C) have faith.

This ended up being a series of four posts:

  • Part 1: My reasons for doing this
  • Part 2: Some theory on what makes an interesting fictional calendar
  • Part 3: An example of creating a messy calendar
  • Part 4: Creating a visual representation of the calendar