I hope it's healing nicely.
Today I want to talk to all of my fellow writers about being aware of the timeline within your narratives. Its one of those things that if done well no one notices, but when neglected can completely lose a reader. I'm not just talking about what order your plot points occur in either. That's the easy part. If I decided to write to you today about making sure a character doesn't have any dialog after you've written their death, you could accuse me of insulting your intelligence.
I'm going to insult your intelligence. At least today.
What I'm more referring to is making sure the timeline makes sense in regards to the time of year. For example, let's say one turning point in a story takes place at a carnival, which suggests that it is during the Summer. If you know that what happens prior to that requires snow on the ground, what happened that Spring? As writers, we need to acknowledge that gap.
There are multiple ways to manage this particular problem. One is to simply insert a scene or multiple scenes that connects the two seasons, from adding detail to the story, enhancing a secondary character's role, etc. Another option is to rework either the first or the second section. Could the carnival be an Easter event, which would move it forward on the calendar? Perhaps the snowstorm is a late season fluke storm that caught all of the characters off guard, leaving you the opportunity to write a wonderful section on how they deal with a sudden late-March dumping of flakes.
There are multiple ways to hit at the season within your stories. For example,
If it's Fall, mention the color of the leaves.
Don't mention "tall stalks of wheat" if the fields would just be budding.
When a man notices how the blouse a woman is wearing highlights the curves of her body, remember that in November she'd be wearing a coat.
However you choose to handle it, what's important is that you handle it. Little fixes like, "she grabbed a sweatshirt to help with the chill that had suddenly arrived that weekend, announcing the arrival of Fall", can really help your readers follow when the story is happening. Those details really bring your readers into the story, and all it takes is one moment of inconsistency to leave a reader saying, "Wait, why is there snow on the ground?" to close a book in disgust.
That's the last thing we want.
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