More thoughts on constructing Timelines #WritersBlock


Have been working on events timelines as a tool to make sure I don’t lose the thread of a story. This helps when constructing multiple character story lines to knit together at or around the denouement. Coupled with research on carbonaceous chondrite, and a few other associated topics made interesting by recent events, this has ground the writing process to an almost complete halt, or should I say hiatus.

The timelines are helping though. They are the anchors of stories and a ready reference for the Cerberus series, and the final volume of the Stars series, which had somewhat lost its narrative thread in the last nine months. Now with the assistance of formalising my timelines, I have a far clearer idea of where individual story threads have to go in order to reach the desired conclusion.

In addition I’ve been trying to get out a little more, in between work – eat – sleep – write, but the only sci-fi meetups seem to be over in Vancouver, which means two lost working days if I decide to go, ferry timetables and public transport being what they are. Living on Vancouver Island is fine, I love the space, but occasionally find it a little isolating.

My last visit to a Vancouver writers event with neighbour Kenn didn’t go anywhere much, as it was more of a ‘literary’ event. Several people I spoke to weren’t much interested in Science Fiction; indeed I seemed to hear a lot of “I don’t like Star Trek.” or “I don’t like Star Wars.” from what I’ll call the ‘anti’ faction of literati. Which seemed to act for them as a blanket dismissal for the genre. Okay, but that’s rather like saying you don’t like Fantasy, but have never read Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, or Christopher Stasheff; or because you find the Bronte’s and Jane Austen shirt wettingly dull (“Oh Mr D’Arcy – I am undone”), but never read Defoe, Hardy, or any of the other great 18th & 19th Century novelists. Maybe because someone doesn’t like the idea of ploughing through Plato’s ‘Republic’ they end up ignoring the whole corpus of early Greek literature, never mind entertaining Roman poets / satirists like Juvenal. Which has made me less than enthusiastic about spending time on such events.

On the subject of long distance travel, plans this year are still a little fragmented, but Angie and I are definitely going to visit England and possibly Southern Ireland. There is family to see, discussions to be held, decisions to be made. June looks like the most likely month.

After that, who knows? I have no Timeline for that, although a trip to the Okanagan to pick up some cases of decent wine is definitely in the early planning stages. Canadian wines are definitely worth a look. After much tasting on a trip last year, we found a rather nice non-vintage Pinot Blanc, and found several vineyards producing quite quaffable Gamay and Pinot Noir based reds. This might come as a surprise to the rest of the world, but not all Canada is the ‘Great white north’.

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Martyn K Jones

A writer who first trained as an Electrical Engineer, then fulfilled various roles within the computing industry. First published in 'SuperBike' magazine, 1978 under the pseudonym Harry Matthews. Since then has written and had published a wide variety of work; from PR copy in trade magazines to supernatural short stories and the occasional satirical article. Emigrated to Canada in 2007. Became a Canadian Citizen December 2014. Now branching out as a serious science fiction novelist.

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