Confused about your detailed backstory? Make a timeline!

Watching: Underbelly: The Golden Mile
Listening to: The Hero’s Two Journeys by Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler
Reading: Twitter (soooo addictive!)

As I was nearing the end of book #5, I again found myself getting confused with the character’s back story (i.e. all the stuff that happens off stage, the past events and people that affect characters).  I do this all the time – I give my characters complicated and deep pasts, which in turn helps immensely when it comes to writing goals and motivation.  But the downside is, they can get so in depth I kinda lose track of what happens.  And as this story is a flow-on from The Magnate’s Baby Promise, I had to keep going back to that first book and rechecking details – was my heroine 27 or 30?  How old was she when her parents ran off?  How long did she temp before scoring a full time job?  Where was she when… and so on.

click to see the full version!

After about the tenth time, I got fed up with my inability to retain these small but pertinent facts.  So instead of just writing it all down in a boring, unattractive list, being the visual learner I am I made a time line.  And here it is.  It’s very simple but easy to understand –  character’s names, then ages and their turning/plot points.   The long dotted lines means their timelines are in sync with each other.

I hope it will help some of you writers too because it really did save my sanity (and probably my editor’s, too!)  And I liked it so much I made another one for the current book I’m writing.

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Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year award

Watching: my son play Lego Star Wars on the computer
Listening to: pew! pew!  pew!  Arrrgghhh!
Reading: the Weekend Australian (running behind on my news)

So I finally kicked the current ms from the nest and it’s now being inspected for fleas by my lovely editor, Charles.  It’ll return in about a month so I can do its laundry, cut its hair and dress it appropriately, then out into the wild it goes in March 2011.  Yippee!

While I was toiling away, the shortlist for RWA‘s RBY award for best romance of 2009 came through.  I am just SO thrilled to see some wonderful books make the final cut, and triple-y thrilled my fabbo writing gals get to shine in some well-deserved limelight.  The nominations are:

Short Sweet Category

Short Sexy Category

Romantic Elements Category

Long Romance Category