Consistency in the Timeline

By Ⅿeagan from Tulsa, OK, United States (Julie  Uploaded by calliopejen1) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ⅿeagan from Tulsa, OK, United States (Julie Uploaded by calliopejen1) [CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s not a huge spoiler, but there is a pregnancy in the Kingdom Come Duology From Earth to Kingdom Come. The main character gets pregnant in Jubliation of the Southern Cross and gives birth in Hearthsong.

Lots of timeline details can remain vague, but something like human pregnancy forces a specific schedule on the story. On Earth, gestation is nine months. With Kingdom Come’s slightly longer year, gestation is about seven months. I remember, when I was pregnant, waiting forever to finally be able to feel the baby kick. I don’t recall how far along I was, but a quick googling says at least three or four months is average.

During Revision 01, I discovered that there were some (very picky) issues with the timeline. Between R01 and R02 I tweaked the conversion factor of Earth time to KC time. All this was done to streamline the universe as a whole. It’s a good thing. It also meant some small changes had to be done to the timeline of the duology.

In Revision 02, it wasn’t a big deal to incorporate the new consistency to Jubliation of the Southern Cross. However, in Hearthsong, the character goes through the milestones of pregnancy, including feeling the baby kick. In the rough draft, this didn’t happen until about halfway through the story. When I started R02, I realized that she would probably feel the baby move much earlier in the story, and I started writing that in.

Then I reached the halfway point, and remembered that I had a scene where the dads (this is polyamory) are both out of town when the baby kicks for the first time. Several actions follow, demonstrating important aspects of several characters. But I’d already started saying ‘she felt the baby move’ throughout the first half. It would be very difficult to find every reference without literally combing over the entire first half word-for-word, because sometimes I said ‘there was a flutter’ or some other poetic term.

I stopped for the night. The next day, I scanned/searched the beginning of the story, and noticed that most of the references were ‘she thought she felt a flutter’ and I stated She’d felt Janikah move several times, but it never lasted more than a fleeting moment. The baby was a tease. I read through the actions, thoughts, and feelings of the characters that come after the original moment of ‘first movement’ and realized that I did need to have this be a big deal.

I let it rest. Then today, I realized that all the ‘feeling a flutter’ moments in the early part of the story can be foreshadowing to the time when it happens in earnest. All those mentions help build up the anticipation for the moment.

When this book comes out, those tiny moments will be seamless part of the story. It will fit, and flow, and hopefully the reader will never feel the urge to count up months or do the math to see whether or not something fits, because it will all ‘feel’ right in addition to actually being mathematically correct.

A lot of work for something the reader won’t notice.

But that’s the goal…do it right, and the reader won’t notice.

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About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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2 Responses to Consistency in the Timeline

  1. nagrij says:

    Sounds familiar, though for me it’s character and setting; do it right and the reader knows the character as well as you do, all without having to explain a single detail. Do it right on setting, and the reader won’t even know they are filling in the description details themselves.

    • This is where I depend on beta readers. I usually have a fleshed-out picture of the characters in my head, but sometimes I lack describing enough. It’s not so much the physical attributes I worry about…it’s their motivations and desires.

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