So I made my first serious map tonight.
And a huge confusion just dissolved. I have a level of understanding about the chase/questing segment that just did not exist before I had the distances in front of my eyes.
I am so thankful at this point it’s an established trait of half-djinn that they can travel at great speed– since this story would *not* work without that property.
The other thing I did was force myself to put a date *and time* on every scene. That took a while, and showed some inconsistencies.
For example, I have two separate times when I jump-cut to another action line and the shift is actually back in time a few hours. This is something I need to fix.
One interesting point is how I calculated the date for the kidnapping.
I already knew I wanted the big showdown to happen on summer solstice, since I liked the idea of fighting huge darkness on the day the sun doesn’t set (remember I’m setting this story in my latitude). Counting backwards, and allowing for travel times (you see, I just told you the map was an important step), the kidnapping occurred on June 2nd (772, but who’s counting…), which is four years to the day after Linnea was attacked.
So I wondered if I ought to shift the numbers so the line-up wasn’t so exact, or if I ought to see if I can dig up a reason for this day to be magical/significant to the djinn that have been responsible for these characters’ “bad luck” over the years.
I’ll think on that tomorrow. Feel free to offer your opinion.
I love the idea of there being a reason for it. . .if the djinn would do that. I think that you could pull it off if it’s the type of thing the djinn would do. If not, don’t mention it and perhaps no-one will notice?
I also have to say that I’m not sure I caught that passage of time. I would not have put down four years on that action. I bet it helps to have the map and the time-line.
Jay pointed out the dates are never mentioned before solstice, so there’s no reason a non-blogreader would guess it happened on the same day.
Yes, the passing of time is subtle– perhaps too subtle– but most of the action happens in two chunks of less-than two weeks; so there’s not a reason to feel a great deal of time movement during the action parts of the story.
Some readers got the prologue (where the attack is mentioned as just-happened. Then the child is mentioned in the next scene and shown as a toddler after that. Third-year haircuts are mentioned at a distance, then cropped hair. (The children’s speech patterns change too, but I don’t expect most people to cue off of that.)
Maps and timelines do seem like great ideas. And I do try to gauge the passing of time(in movies, mainly) by the changes in children’s development. It’s so disappointing when folks don’t pay close attention to this kind of thing. I’m glad you are dealing with it at this stage!
I found that it helps to make a map of the physical area, as well as a family tree. Both these things, and the time, as you pointed out, are quite useful. Remember when I had that one girl giving birth at age 11? Of course it’s possible, but it wasn’t intentional. I had to play with the numbers.
Having all that appendix-type material helps in selling the book, I think.