Writing the Re-write: Timeline

Silver Re-WriteOkay, welcome to the first official blog entry of Behind the Scenes: Re-writing Silver. If you’re interested in the behind the scenes of writing a book, this blog is for you.

For this entry, I want to discuss the prep work needed before putting even a single letter on the screen. The first thing you need to do when considering a re-write is to understand why you’re doing a re-write. Don’t re-write a book just for the sake of it, that’s a lot of freaking work! The reason I chose to do this re-write is because I was unhappy with the overall plot, characterization, and writing style of the first book. Also, in terms of overall continuity, book one throws everything out of whack. The continuity breaks all my plans for books 2-5.

I consider The Silver Ninja book series as a five act structure. Each book is its own act. As the old saying among author’s goes,

“If you’re having problems with Acts II-V, look to Act I.”

Now that we’ve established the problem, the next step is to figure out the plan on how to fix it.

Before we do that, if you’re still a brand new author learning the ropes. I highly recommend that you write short stories with a hard limit of 1,000 words and read a variety of different books that are not in your genre. Think of it like becoming a master chef. You sample different foods and spices to expand your palate and then practice perfecting your food by cooking. Writing is the same way.

You need to read in order to understand what works and doesn’t work for you.


Then you need to write, write, and keep on writing until you can tell a story as quickly and clearly as possible.

With that out of the way, it’s time for the nitty gritty part. If you have a plot that spans two books, three books, or in my case, five books, you need some kind of mythical tool to keep track of it all.

Introducing the time tested author approved CALENDAR!

J.K. Rowling had it right, a calendar is an excellent tool to keep that enormous plot in check and continuous. Create a timeline from January to December and write down character birthdays, important events, holidays, and then fill in each month with critical events. If you can set it up on index cards whether digital or physical, you’ll be able to see your timeline at a glance. Don’t go crazy and fill up the cards, just summarize what happens in one sentence. In fact, here’s a picture I made just for you all.







I suggest using Scrivener http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php to do this because it has great organizational features. It’s not free, but it’s affordable and has been a valuable tool in my writing kit.

Once you have that calendar built, it’s time to see where your second book totally screws up your plans for re-writing the 1st. In my next blog post, I’ll talk about re-reading your work and why you have to do it.

See you next time.

Wilmar Luna
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