In editing Boh’s Abdication, I’ve reached the point of needing to chart my story out to make sure that events are happening when they should. I once again have people traipsing back and forth across three countries, and I have to keep the travel times consistent with those in Alara’s Call, the first book in the series.
So of course this means I need a map and a calendar.
Oh, how I wish I could show you the map. Mary Elizabeth Hall did a fantastic job (squee) on the map that will appear in Alara’s Call. But I’ve been asked to keep it under wraps.
I will probably use the same map for book two as for book one, though I may have Mary add a few new points of interest. At any rate, the map is a great tool, and Mary’s is far better than the one I scribbled on a piece of spiral notebook paper.
For the calendar, I use the Perpetual Calendar Template from Vertex42. This is an Excel spreadsheet set up to look like a calendar. I can type the events of the story into calendar blocks. The merge cells function can be used to show something that will take several days, like “journey from capitol to seaside.”
I use Time And Date’s Custom Calendar feature to help me get equinoxes and solstices on the right dates, as well as full and new moons. I picked an actual historical year for story-planning purposes, though I don’t mention that date in the book. 😉 Time and Date also came in handy recently when I was editing a piece of historical fiction, ensuring that the dates were on the right days of the week. Yeah, that’s the kind of thing copyeditors get picky about.
At one point, I had a character getting from one place to another far too quickly. So I used the corkboard view in Scrivener to shuffle a couple of scenes around. Problem solved.
What tools are helping you solve your story problems?