I’ve likely written before about how the scope of the planned saga I call the Shine Cycle began to take shape as a project for my seventh grade Creative Writing class. But there were a few major problems with it; perhaps most notably, the quoted length of events began as too long at the start and got longer and longer as it went on. (Sieges—of cities, not countries, planets, or space stations—lasting decades? The typical war lasting centuries?)
When I realized this, some years later, I utterly revised the timeline, reducing the lengths of events to what I thought was reasonable. Problem solved, or so I thought; at first glance the events could even be used as the skeleton on which to hang my story (and given the size of the story which is upon me to tell, some such frugality is necessary).
Then I began to put the “meat” on that skeletal outline-of-an-outline. First I began to imagine the places I could put my chosen characters (many of which have been profiled on this blog), and then I began to write some of the stories and (more recently) outline the rest in more detail. Now, having outlined twenty-five or so of the over two hundred named characters’ individual stories, and having broken the “main-outline-event” outline of the planned books down into planned sequences, it’s become obvious that the “outline of history” is simply too busy and too abrupt. This is part of why I wrote last year that I need a program, a “fictional historiographer,” that apparently doesn’t exist yet to manage things. The density of the timeline even with everything in the barest of outlines is overwhelming, and there isn’t enough time between events for the necessary buildup to make them possible.
Therefore, I’ve decided that I need to revise the timeline again, this time by expanding it. I won’t stretch events out, but rather the spaces between them. After doing more than twenty-five character histories and posting several sections of the outline here, I’m not looking forward to revising all of them in light of the new timeline, but better now than fifty or a hundred character histories later—and, as I wrote two weeks ago, I expect to start on character histories in earnest within the next few months.