On Friday, I hosted another installment of my ongoing Friday Night Follies in which readers ask me questions, I give answers and hand out prizes to participants. It’s always a lot of fun, but I do get some of the same questions from one week to the next. One of them, in particular, led me to realize I need to talk more about the process of keeping a timeline in a series. Readers ask me frequently WHEN is Laura on Gansett going to have those twins? It seems like she’s been pregnant forever.
It does to me, too, and I understand why readers think the babies should’ve arrived by now. After all, Laura has been pregnant for several books. BUT those several books span only a couple of months on the Gansett timeline. Love After Dark took place in September. Celebration After Dark occurred in late December. Laura is due in March. So you can see, it’s not time yet for those babies to show up.
You might ask, well, why does that matter? You guys have heard me talk before about how I try to “keep it real” in the books, to the best of my ability anyway. Laura needs to be pregnant for approximately forty weeks. I might write two books that fall within those forty weeks or ten books. But no matter how many books I might write, I have to give her those forty weeks, or I will have readers writing to me saying there’s no way Laura could already have her babies because she hasn’t been pregnant long enough. Make sense?
As you might imagine, keeping timelines for five different series can be complicated and yes, things do slip through the cracks from time to time. But for the most part, I try to remain true to an accurate passage of time within each series.
At the end of every book, I make notes about things that affect the timeline. These notes might say something like:
- Dan and Kara booked the Chesterfield for a June wedding
- XXX character realized she is pregnant, due XXX date
- Make sure XX character does XX thing by XX date
Another question I get asked a lot in regard to Gansett is when will we see Grace and Evan’s wedding? Again, I refer back to the timeline. Celebration took place in December. Evan and Grace’s wedding is planned for mid-January, so I expect you will finally read about their wedding in Desire After Dark.
Adhering to the timeline is a critical aspect of writing series. I hope this helps to explain why it SEEMS to take so long for things like babies to be born and weddings to happen. Do you have questions? I’m happy to answer them!