Saturday 9 March 2019


When writing a series, I keep a running list of characters, titles, places and who is related to whom and how. It's not so difficult for books that occur sometime, but when writing one with events in real time, it can get complicated, especially if you dart about and write a book set in the 1990s followed by one in the late 1960s and then one in 2019 (which was written last November). That's when it's imperative to keep track of who met whom and when, For example, if Jane and Rachel met at school in The Bonding, set in 1967, they can't have an encounter in Trudy's Truth, set in 1966. They can both appear in that title, but they can't meet. If Loft and Attic is set in 1980, then they have to know one another, and to have been at school together... and so on. By the way, none of those titles is real; I made them up on the fly. 

Writing a book in a series out of order, that is, writing one set before the designated now, is known as writing a retrospective. It's actually quite fun if you keep track of what you're doing. For example, two people who meet for the first time in 2017 can still both attend a festival in 2016. They might even see one another in passing. They just can't meet. Of course if you don't keep track of what you're doing, it's easy to slip up and make an oopsie. I almost made one when I wrote one book in a series and then two others that happened before, during and after the first one. I had one character explaining that he'd met six characters with a specific attribute and then, at the eleventh hour, I remembered he'd met a seventh briefly in the book before last which was set a couple of months before this one. Oopsie. Fortunately I caught it in time.  

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