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Giving Your Story the Time of Day

Ever have a week with two Fridays? Sounds like fun but if it happens in your novel, your readers won’t be amused. As writers we can be forgiven for being so consumed by our writing that we lose track of what day it is. Unfortunately, if we lose track of time in the story, we might struggle to sort it out after the fact. And if the errors make it past a copy editor—and believe me, they do—you could confuse or annoy your readers.

I’m here to give you some tips for minimizing lapses in time continuity.

Use Real Dates. Sure, you can make up your very own calendar year, but consider the advantages of using a real one.

Pin Your Characters to the Calendar

Keep Track of Time as You Write

My upcoming release, Stories We Never Told, takes place over several months. Here’s one page of the calendar. The next page is densely packed because the action ramps up, but I didn’t want to include spoilers!

Coping with Multiple Timelines/multiple POVs

I’ve shared some of my tricks for keeping time but as with everything in this business, no solution is for everyone. What techniques do you use to track time in your stories? Do you have any resources to share? 

About Sonja Yoerg [3]

Sonja Yoerg [4] grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned a Ph.D. in biological psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and wrote a nonfiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA, 2001) and four novels: House Broken, Middle of Somewhere, All the Best People, and the upcoming True Places (1/19). Sonja lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.