Monday, April 16, 2012

Timing issues

No I’m not talking about why it took your hero twenty minutes to get from the heroine’s home to his work in chapter one and half an hour in chapter ten, although you really do need to mention the traffic jam he got caught up in. I’m talking about the length of time between when you wrote the chapter and when the book will actually get published.
Will anyone recognize the name of the band the heroine is so fond of in two years’ time? Will there be a new president by then? Will that brand of ice cream have been taken over by another company?
Even more importantly if this is a book you started some time ago, is there a reason why he doesn’t have a GPS in his car when he’s taking a road trip? Why doesn’t that character have a cell phone?
It is your book, your world, you can make it any way you choose, but you do need to have a reason for things. If you don’t explain his GPS has been stolen then readers will just think your hero is stupid for getting lost instead of using one. And no one wants a stupid hero.
Oh, and lest you think you will finish writing the book tonight and it’ll be on the shelves in a month, the answer is, unless you’re self-publishing, it’ll be more likely six to twelve months and possibly two years before your book is available. But even so, your aim should be that the book won’t sound dated and old to a reader who buys it in five years’ time. 
Helen Woodall
Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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