Hi, SE Readers. Joan with you today. In recent weeks, Staci has shared some of the tools she uses when plotting a new novel. I’m more of a panster rather than a plotter, but there is one tool I’ve come to rely on for writing.
When I wrote my first novel, not only did I have to keep track of events in the current timeline of the story, but also ones that occurred years earlier. Because the two timelines were almost exactly twenty years apart, it was easy to become confused.
Simple solution? An Excel or Word calendar template.
Here’s an example from Unseen Motives. (This is a Word template.)
You can see where I’ve made notes on various days. While I don’t record everything, I do note the more crucial elements and important events.
My second and third novels had tighter timelines (they were spread out over a few months and didn’t have an inciting event that occurred years earlier. However, I still found calendars useful. For these novels, I used Excel templates.
I’m aware than many of you may not use Excel. I not only use it at work, I use spreadsheets frequently at home. Using a pre-built template makes it easy to create a monthly or annual calendar with tabs (spreadsheets) for each month.
Don’t use Microsoft Office products? Google Docs also has a number of calendar templates, but I find them harder to use and not as advanced. With an Excel template, you plug in the year and it does the work.
Recently, I began a calendar for my personal blog. Again, I used an Excel template to create a yearly calendar. As I have topic ideas, I type them into the calendar. It’s a handy, quick reference for when I write the actual post. As you can see, I decided to use a more colorful template.
Do you use calendars to keep up with your story timelines or blogging schedule? If not what tools do you use? Share in the comments.