A couple of posts back I mentioned that I’d got my storyline to the point where I’d started working on the timeline.
As it turns out, I got a little bit ahead of myself. I’ve had to stop working on the timeline because I realised I’d made a mistake with the story. And boy, is it a doozy.
The way I had the story set up, the first of the four stories starts with my protagonist having a problem. And the way the story went, that problem had been worked out by the end of that same first story.
That doesn’t work; it would mean she’d need a new problem to take into the second story. And if she’d already dealt with the biggest obstacle in her life, then what possible hurdles could she have in the second story that would even come close to that?
Here’s a couple of examples of the kind of thing I’m talking about; this should make it clearer.
First, look at Harry Potter. His problem is Voldemort. And while he wins fights against The Dark Lord in each book, Harry doesn’t actually beat him for good until the final battle at the end of the last book.
Another example: Neo’s fighting the machines and we find that out early in The Matrix, but he doesn’t end the war until the end of the third and last movie.
Last example: Frodo encounters the One Ring not far into The Fellowship of the Ring, and the story only ends when he destroys the ring—and Sauron—at the end of The Return of the King.
You get the picture. I’ve had to go back to my plotting and change things so that the problem my protagonist has at the beginning of the first book carries her through a series of adventures all the way through the complete set of four stories. And that in turn has meant adding in a bucketload of back story to support things—and the rabbit hole gets deeper as she learns more about the truth behind her original troubles a little at a time; she only finds out the complete details close to the end of the last story. It also means that what was to be the second story in the series will be pretty much torn down and replaced, and the way things are going it’s not impossible that I’ll need a fifth book to complete the whole tale.
So at the moment timelining is suspended until I get all the details worked out and written down. What I thought was going to take a few days is now looking like it’s going to take a few weeks at least. This thing is becoming a monster.
I’ll post more on this as I progress.