Maybe you created a brand new world and need to give background on its history. Or maybe your novel switches back and forth between the past and the present to get your plot across. Maybe, like me, you have a string of crimes to follow.
No matter what genre you’re writing in if you’re writing a series chances are you’re going to need a timeline of events.
There are many different ways to create a timeline for your novel. Everyone works in different ways at different paces, so some of these ideas may work better than others.
1. Excel Spreadsheet
I think using a spreadsheet would be easy enough, well organized, and easy on the eyes. You can create a graph-like timeline using the columns and rows. List your dates in a column and then include what happens on each date in the rows.
You could also list the dates in the first column and list the characters in the first row. Then you match up the character to the date and write in what happens to them.
2. Word Document
This is similar to the spreadsheet, just a little less organized. Just create a long list of dates in chronological order and write in what happens on those days.
Sounds simple enough and it’d be easy to add in dates in the middle in case you forget something.
Get a planner or download/create a calendar template on the computer and fill in the dates as needed. If your novel takes place from May to December, then only create a calendar for those months.
4. Index cards
Make an index card for each date and then string them together or tack them together on a bulletin board. This would be a lot of work, but it will look cool at the end–especially if you decide to string them together in order.
Create a cool-looking timeline just like in your old history textbooks with the horizontal line and the dates sticking out of it. If you’re like me, use pretty colors to highlight significant dates.
I wish I had a picture of my poster to show you, but I have yet to finish my timeline. Math is my arch nemesis.
That I spent my weekend playing video games.
How do you keep track of the dates and events in your novel?