Simplification

Okay, I haven’t blogged for a while, but seriously, if you’re suffering withdrawal that bad, just follow me on twitter.  I mean, that’ll cure you right fast!

Normally, if I have something to say about the creative process, I do that over on Deviant Art, so I highly suggest that you keep an eye on my profile over there.  I say interesting stuff about writing my novel!  I do!  Or, you know, follow me on Twitter, cause then you’d already know when I was blogging on DA.

But enough about Twitter.

No, wait, I still have one more thing to say about it: not everything fits in a tweet.  So, here I am, making what I suppose could be considered an “extended tweet”.

Now I’m done.

* * *

Last night, I pondered on whether or not it would be possible to finish my novel in just six weeks.  That means I would be free and clear in time for NaNoWriMo, and not have to worry about coming back to Broken Wings after NaNo was over.  I’m not sure I can do it, but I think that maybe I should try.

That being said, several hours ago I sat down and opened up yWriter to start work.  Do you know what I’ve accomplished today? NOTHING.

Well, let’s assume that we want to be a little generous.  I have accomplished things, just not much, especially considering how many hours I’ve squandered away.

One of the features of yWriter is specialised fields to enter the day and time that a scene occurs, and how long that scene lasts for.  Without any great amount of finesse, I had guesstimated the timeline for the first three chapters, then promptly forgot about it.

Later in the novel, having some awareness of the passage of time becomes, if not important, at the very least it becomes the “professional thing to do”.  I mean, down in chapter twenty-something when I refer to a specific space of time, it’s more useful to have a timeline, rather than make an educated guess as to how long it’s been.

That is how I found myself today with a long list of chapters and scenes, the calendar I designed for the setting, and an MSExcel spreadsheet, mapping out the timeline.

At first it was easy, things happened fairly consistantly, just about every day was accounted for in the novel.  Then, the novel started taking a direction where – due to the monotony of the characters doing the same thing every damn day – only certain days are made mention of.  At this point, I needed to start “finessing” the time gaps.

Fortunately, due to the phases of the moon, I was able to pin certain parts of the novel to specific dates, and it was just a matter of tidily spacing things between each new moon.  Then, things started to get complicated.   Oh, it’s straight-forward enough when you only had to fit one or two activities into each month, but towards the end, a lot more was happening.

To make it easier to determine how I wanted things to be laid out, I would take an activity that occured between two defined points, label one of the clear demarcations in my writing as day “x”, and the days around it “x+1”, “x+2”, “x-1”, etc.  Once I knew how many days that activity took, I’d look at the “visual calendar” I’d mocked up in MSExcel, and see where that block of time would fit most neatly into the amount of time I had.  Easy as pie!

Without spoiling anything, I wanted to share with you the most uber-complicated “timeline function” in Broken Wings.

* * *

Chapter 28, Scene 10 — day n+(x+2)+y+(z+a)+b+3+4+4+3+c+d+e

Yes.  I realise that I could add together (n+3+4+4+3), but those numbers refer to specific points in time, so I wanted to leave that unsimplified for the moment.

So, what does it all mean???

n = a fixed number, I know what day “n” represents.
x = the number of days Razakiel spent travelling a certain distance.
y = the number of days Razakiel spent travelling a (different) certain distance.
z+a = the number of days Razakiel spent travelling yet another certain distance, but is split into two values as something happens during that time.
b = yep, more travelling. A lot of that happens in this novel.
c, d, e = even more travelling!

The deal is that some of those values will be defined when I “calculate” the details for (x+1)+(z+4)+(a+b+3) for an earlier chapter/scene, and I’ll just be able to plug the numbers straight into this function.  Some of those values are undefined, and I’ll need to establish “how long would it reasonably take a person under [set of circumstances] to travel [this distance]”.

* * *

Oh, well.  I’m off to start working out how far and how long those distances are.  Wish me luck!

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~ by ghostwolfe on September 4, 2009.

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