creating a multi-book timeline

As I’ve started planning my novel (yes, I’m a Planner), I’ve found it helpful to draft a timeline to keep track of when important events happen in relation to each other. I also hope that it helps with pacing and plot advancement. Yesterday, as I was doing some hardcore thinking about my story, I realized that some of the events I want to include need an extended timeline to build them up. For example, the main character may have a hobby she becomes talented at that then becomes a point of conflict with a parent. So I began drafting a multi-story timeline. Elements mentioned in passing when we first meet our protagonist later become conflicts that develop her character.

This presented a new decision for which I still don’t have a conclusion. And that’s whether this extended timeline covers one book or several. My original idea was Sweet Valley High meets Nancy Drew meets Isaac Asimov. So in the back of my mind was the idea that I could write multiple short novels if I wanted, but that they would each be fairly standalone. There might be character development on a large scale through the series, but you wouldn’t need to read a particular book before another. I don’t want to aim for a large novel as my audience is a bit young for that. Also, I’m a bit intimidated at the thought of going for epic scale when I really just need to focus on finishing something. Right now I’m leaning toward still setting my timeline over several books. My hope is that I can lay the groundwork for later plot lines without affecting the standalone quality of the first books. I may only end up writing one of these. I don’t want to shoehorn myself into a multi-book plot before I even know how to finish one book. Focus on achievable goals. Once I’ve achieved them, I can go further.

In Tales of the Mundane, I’ve hit the winter wall where I’m annoyed all the time because it’s cold and wet. I was so angry yesterday just because it’s uncomfortable to go anywhere other than my bedroom. It’s like cabin fever except I can’t just stay in my room all winter, so I resent moving at the same time that I resent not moving. Just a little ball of resentment. My pain has also been increasing this month, so walking my dogs is extra annoying. Doc told me to take high dose Ibuprofen for a few days to hit the inflammation. I’m trying not to snap at those around me because it’s not anyone’s fault, but I know it slips out sometimes. I mentally feel like something’s touching me, invading my space, and I just want to flip out and fling it away from me. But there’s nothing for me to escape. Sheesh, that’s melodramatic. “How can you stop feeling trapped when there’s nothing to escape?” You see what I’m working with here. Winter is always disheartening, but this is the point where I start feeling depressed and I just want to sleep until spring. Of course I haven’t been sleeping well for the past week, so that’s fun, too. Please get here soon, spring. I need some sun. I run on solar charge and my battery stores are depleting. :'( At least there isn’t a lot of snow or dangerous road conditions to deal with. So there’s an upside, right? Right?! (If you snow, I’ll cut you.)

What I feel may or may not qualify as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I suspect it does as it happens every year, causes drastic mood change and lack of interest or motivation in pretty much anything, and generally makes me feel shitty for several months. Last January was pretty bad, but I was also on a new migraine medication that had some serious side effects. I’m not on it anymore. If you undergo something similar and never put two and two together, check out for more information on SAD. It’s not depression-lite. It’s just depression with seasonal triggers. It’s every bit as serious and shouldn’t be ignored. Not that I follow that advice all of the time.

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