Avoid time warp

by John R. Peterson
(Montreal, Canada)

Keep notes of details and timeline separate from what you will write or need to write in your novel. Too many time references or too many details can be just as confusing as a lack of same. Certain things you must keep track of in order to avoid contradictions or illogical occurrences but you don’t need to write down all the dates, ages or details in the story itself; you need only to know what those are when you are writing.

Refering to your notes helps you to keep things on track and in proper perspective so as not to confuse the reader. This is particularly important when you have many characters and when some are recurrent ones, also when a story covers any significant length of time. Keep track either in point form, on spreadsheets or some type of database that you can sort; whatever works best for you.
For example, knowing the precise dates of birth, deaths and key or important events will help avoid you writing:
- a character who is older than his/her parents
- a character driving a car model that did not yet exist when a certain event took place
- traveling long distances in such a short time that a character would have had to drive at 200 mph.
- a character aging slower than other characters
Readers pick up on such mistakes.

Comments for Avoid time warp

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 31, 2012
A good tip
by: Audrey

John, this is an excellent tip! I get so many books littered with background information that interferes with the story. I'll be adding the link to this tip to my list of places to point people for good advice on specific topics.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Writing Tips.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

This is Jack Popjes and one of his published books. He and I worked on multiple projects. He's  met many goals.

Meet your writing goals in 2023.

Click to start NOW

Free Newsletter

Sign up below for

Editor's Notes 

Inspiration and Writing Tips 

and receive tips 
to maximize 
your use of MS Word.

Click for more information 
and archived copies...

Or sign up using the form below 
to start your subscription right away.

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Editor's Notes.