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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jeff LaFerney
Author of Loving the RainSkeleton Key, and soon to be released Bulletproof

Jeff is an author from WORLD CASTLE PUBLISHER 

Jeff LaFerney has been a language arts teacher and coach for more than twenty years. 

Well, here I am after writing three books, and I’m an expert, right?  Not even close…but I’ve learned a few things.  I’d like to comment about what I’ve learned about time…time in the books.  My first book practically was written stream of consciousness.  I started and never slowed down until I was done, and then I decided to revise.  What I found was that everything I changed and added to the book generated a thread of errors throughout the rest of the novel.  I found that I messed the timing and chronology all up when I made some really beneficial revisions, and fixing things was difficult and frustrating.  So in book number two, I kept a timeline.  I wrote down a summary of each scene of the book, including a record of time.  What day did it happen?  What time was it?  I found that I caught myself quite a few times writing things that weren’t possible or miscalculating reality.  It helped me revise and maintain chronology as I went along.  So when book three began, I felt I had a handle on the whole time thing.  Boy, was I wrong.  I kept painting myself into corners for which there was no way out.  Numerous times I had to go back and rewrite scenes, add scenes, and reorder scenes so I could maintain appropriate chronology.  I literally had to write down each date (even dates mentioned of things that happened in the past) and each mention of time, age, years, days, hours—even minutes.  I also continued to keep note of times in the scenes as I summarized them.  It was a challenge to be faithful to reality and to keep my details consistent.  The end result?  There were hours of frustration at times, but I had told a story for which I’m very proud.  Time matters.  It’s real, and it affects believability of stories and consistency of story-telling.  Keeping track helped me to eliminate gaps and to be accountable to a realistic timeline.  The next time you write or begin to revise, keep track…that’s my “expert” advice.