The bigger–and longer–a story gets the more it needs a timeline to help the author keep things straight. At least, I certainly need a timeline.
In WAR OF MAGIC, the fourth book in the DUAL MAGICS series, I’m currently writing in Year 9 of the story.
I started this timeline way back with the first book. It helps me keep track of how old each of the characters is–especially the characters who get less focus in the story. It also helps me figure out how long ago a particular event happened from the characters’ perspective. Don’t want to say something happened five years ago when it was only three. Some reader somewhere will call you on that.
As I work towards the climax of WAR OF MAGIC–and the series–I’ve started to realize I’m going to need another timeline for just the few months leading up to the big battle. The exact time of year–specifically how early or late it is in the summer–is going to matter. And work in how long it takes to get between certain places on foot or on horseback, which will also matter.
This is not something I need right now, while I’m writing the first draft. I wouldn’t go back and change things to fit the timeline right now anyway. In the second or third draft, chapters or scenes can easily be moved around to where they need to be, possibly with just a little revision. That’s when I’m going to need to lay out this detailed timeline.