Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Friendship-Is-Forever Blog Tour: Welcome J.L. Campbell

I'm pulling this blog out of temporary hibernation to bring you a guest post from the lovely J.L. Campbell as part of her Friendship-is-Forever blog tour, celebrating the release of her excellent novel, Distraction. If you like novels with vivid settings, real characters and tangible emotions, you won't go far wrong with this. Find it on Amazon here, but, for a chance to win yourself an e-copy, just leave a comment below!

Today Joy's going to talk about the issue of timing in writing. Certainly something I've tripped myself up over. Take it away, Joy!

*

Have you ever read a book and found that the timeline isn’t right or one thing or another didn’t get tied up satisfactorily? I know I have.  

I think about these things with each story I write and get antsy, usually close to the end of each book. Distraction was a challenge because of the nature of the story (one character takes frequent trips down memory lane) and the fact that there are three main characters.

It was fun to weave all the stories together and resolve most of the plot points, however, it took a fair amount of time to wrap things up nicely. Aside from a general edit, I had to take the story apart, print and compile it in three units. By doing this, I was able to read each woman’s story in isolation to ensure that everything was in the correct sequence and individual problems were sorted out properly.

One round of editing took care of the timeline. Apart from being listed by the character’s names, the chapters run by dates. I’ve gotten used to writing all my novels this way—that is posting at the start of each chapter, something like, Wednesday, Week 3. This makes it easier to track the timeline from start to finish and allows characters to make accurate references to things in the past.

While this might sound like a lot of work for one novel, editing was a lot easier because I’d already laid the groundwork by noting date and time when writing each chapter. D’you do things any differently? If not, how do you keep track of time in your stories?

To celebrate the release of Distraction, I wrote a prequel, A Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Steps to Distraction  in which you’ll meet Dionne, Kyra and Justine a year before Distraction takes place. I hope you’ll like this taste of friendship and things Jamaican. Download your complimentary copy from Smashwords.

At the end of this Friendship-is-Forever tour, there’ll be a main prize of a Distraction note pad & pen and a $10 Amazon gift card. The second prize is a paperback copy of Distraction. Sign up for that at the Rafflecopter here.

I haven’t yet touched on friendship, which is the theme of this tour. How strange is that? I will say that the craft that we share does so much to bring people together. Were it not for writing, my path (here in Jamaica) wouldn’t have crossed Nick’s (way over there in Scotland). And so it is with many other writers I’ve met on the internet.

Nick, many thanks for letting me take over your blog.


J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican and the author of Contraband, Distraction, Dissolution, Don’t Get Mad…Get Even, Giving up the Dream and Hardware (pen name Jayda McTyson). Campbell is always on the lookout for story making material, loves company and can usually be found lollygagging on her blog at http://thecharacterdepot. blogspot.com.


45 comments:

J.L. Campbell said...

Nick,
Many thanks for having me!

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Thanks to Nick for hosting you.

I had never looked at timeline that way. I may try your method, Joy, and see if it works for me.

I'm enjoying your tour as you're teaching me so much.

You're so dedicated.

Bish Denham said...

I have, for some novels, created and calendar in which I jot down the significant scenes. This helps to keep me in tune with the timeline. I'm also a very linear writer, and am almost completely unable to write scenes out of *order.*

L.G.Smith said...

That work of editing the timeline is so important. I sometimes have big, elaborate charts I make to keep track of who's doing what at what time. It's a lot to keep straight, and I don't have three main characters!

michelle said...

Your timeline concept sounds like a great way to keep everything together in the correct sequence with no hiccups, especially with regards to the accuracy of flashbacks, plus dealing with three main characters... phew!
Very informative.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Peaches,
By nature, I'm disorganized, so I'll use any method I can to get me moving in the right direction. Keeping track of every little thing was doubly important because I was dealing with three main characters.

Bish, like you, I almost never write scenes out of order. With my involvement in the Romantic Friday Wtiters group, I'm not getting a chance to write scenes for a novel I should have written a long time ago. I drop those in when I'm at work on that particular book.

L.G. Charts sound like fun and should be easy to work with at a glance. Makes me want to grumble at my husband about the office I still don't have yet.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I used a timeline for my five-gook series. Had to. I even outlined what each main character was doing when they weren't part of the story, just so I would know.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hmm, maybe I should start writing it down, especially as my third book follows three instead of two characters.

J.L. Campbell said...

Diane,
Now that's paying attention to details. I could take lessons from you.

Alex, it would help keep things straight.

cleemckenzie said...

Super congratulations, L.J. Here's all my best for success!

Nick Wilford said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! It was a pleasure to host you, Joy.

I only have limited notes during a first draft and they don't include a timeline. When I'm really into it I often can't remember what day it is in real life, let alone in the book! But I probably should as I then have a bit of sorting out to do. With my WIP, it wasn't too far out of whack, but I still had a bit of adjusting to do. Everything gets moved around on a second draft anyway, but a basic timeline might make that process easier.

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks for coming over, Lee.

Nick, I'm tempted to just play things by ear, but after the agony of writing my first novel in a few months and then taking 5 years to edit it (cause of combined factors) it's way easier to keep track from the start of the project.

Romance Reader said...

Congratulations JL! My best with the tour!

Hi Nick!


Nas

Rose Munevar said...

I enjoyed Ms. Campbell's solution on the timeline problem! Thanks for introducing her and letting us know about her books.

Lisa Regan said...

Fabulous advice! Congrats on the release--wishing you big sales!

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks, Nas.

Rose, thanks for stopping in. Always happy to share what I know about writing.

Thanks for your good wishes, Lisa.

Medeia Sharif said...

That's interesting about separating it into three units. I'll keep that in mind if I ever write in multiple POVs.

Donna Hole said...

I kept notes within my 2nd novel to help me keep their back story straight. I liked your solution of separating it into three parts for the multi POVs.

I wrote my trilogy from the MC pov, and sometimes I had to take parts of the story and write it from one of the other character's POV to get it right.

.....dhole

Talli Roland said...

Great post, JL! Ah, timelines... they do my head in! It's always one of the last things I look at.

J.L. Campbell said...

Medeia, that method helped me tremendously.

Donna, that's interesting. While writing Distraction, I didn't know there would be a second book, but luckily, I creatad a binder that had all the info about the characters. I've been reading Distraction to refamiliarize myself while editing the sequel. Now if only I'd write that last chapter.

Talli, I know. :) I can't remember much so I try and keep track out of the starting gate.

Clarissa Draper said...

Yay, new blog to follow!

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats on your books! I look forward to reading them. :)

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks for coming by, guys.

Morgan said...

LOVE seeing your beautiful face around, JL! Your books look fabulous. I'm so excited/proud of all your success! :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

I've had this down to read for some time. Must go find it!

I hear you on timing. It has to gel to make a good story!

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks for your kind words, Morgan.

Sia, hope you enjoy and yes, timing is impoortant, along with all the other ingredients.

Ciara said...

It's great to see you here, JL. I can't wait to read your work!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Very interesting on taking it apart to view each of the three characters' paths separately. I may need to try that. ~waves at Nick and Joy~

Catherine Noble said...

I love your title usage like "Wednesday - Week 3" to keep a grasp of things. I like to use a spreadsheet with the story's main points written, with timeline figured out in a column next to it. :)

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks for dropping in, Ciara.

Shannon, it helped tremendously with getting the story details, timeline and character preferences right.

Catherine, that method is so good at keeping me organized. Spreadsheets are quite useful and details are available at a glance.

J.L. Campbell said...

Nick,

Thanks ever so much for letting me take over your blog.

Nicole said...

Yup, I've definitely had timing anxiety. Nice advice post!

Kim said...

Nick, thanks for coming out of hiding and letting Joy give us some great advice :)
And congrats to you, Joy, on the release of your novel...

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks so much, guys.

Suze said...

Thanks, Nick, for hosting JL.

Congratulations on your latest release, girl!

nutschell said...

So nice to see Joy here! Distraction sounds like a fun read.

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Madeleine Sara said...

Hi Nick, glad you're out of hibernation for a short while.

Congratulations Joy. I'll have to host you sometime, too.

Shallee said...

Thanks for the blog tour post, Nick and Joy! Timelining is so important, and something I try to be careful of as well. Thanks for sharing!

J.L. Campbell said...

Madeleine and Shallee, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Thanks for that offer Madeleine.

Lynda R Young said...

Yay for Joy!!
Sometimes I have to write up a timeline just to keep track of it, otherwise I make a mess.

Lauren said...

I had a timeline on one novel, but last week I realized I had to change POV on one particular scene and found something I and all my readers had missed. Just by changing POV it became obvious.

We try to catch all that stuff, but sometimes it catches us.

Lauren

Misha Gericke said...

I try really hard to keeping the timeline in mind as I write. Doorways sort of depends on how well things fit in together. :-)

J.L. Campbell said...

Working out timelines now for my WiP and boy, that's no fun after the fact.

100% free dating said...

Friendship is so portable of the every kind of relationship. The entire screening of the posting dated with accurate references.

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