Timeline Changes

Let’s get talking about timelines, folks!

No, I’m not going to delve into time-travel. There’s way too many paradoxes and plot holes involved in those. Like, yeah, I thought it made a little more sense in Avengers: Endgame than in Back To The Future, but no.


Lately, the flash fics for the Matthews Family series have been changing. When I first started posting them on here, they started in 1979, which was when Connor, the male protagonist, was originally born.

Then earlier this year, it changed to 1973, meaning the flash fics with his kids moved around too.

Last month, after finding out that the name ‘Connor’ apparently didn’t start appearing on the American naming chart until 1981, I moved his birth year up to 1983.

Meaning the timeline was once more shifted.

So, where is the point of this? *searches brain* Ah, there it is!

If you decide to shift the timeline for your WIP, there may be a chance the story explodes in ways you didn’t see before. There also needs to be a reason why it’s being changed.

The main reason I changed the timeline for the Matthews Family series is because, again, the name ‘Connor’ did not start appearing on the American naming charts until the ’80s. Apparently.

If it’s a series you’re working on, try to keep the same amount of time passing between books the same too. It does help.

Example: A year passes between TMF #1 and TMF #2. Originally, it was 2002 and 2003, it moved to 1996 and 1997, and now, it’s 2006 and 2007.

It may also help to keep the protagonist’s age the same.

Example: Connor is 22 going on 23 when TMF #1 starts, and has always been that age in all three timelines. It’s been slightly different with Kelly, but not much. She used to be a year young then Connor, but then I gave them the same birth year. She’s still younger by a few months though.

While it may be easier to keep track of the timeline in that way, stories change. Maybe it makes more sense for the protagonist to be older or younger than you original envisioned. Maybe it makes more sense to lengthen or shorten the time gaps between books in a series.

Whatever the case, make sure you keep track of it. Mark down any change, however small it may be.

Tell me your thoughts below! What’s your strategy for keeping control of the timeline in your WIP?

One thought on “Timeline Changes

  1. You’re pretty dedicated to accuracy (something I admire), I’ll just have a story set in the ’50s and give all my characters Roman-sounding names for some reason XD I have no idea what is up with me.

    Usually when I shift the timeline in my stories, it’ll be because I’m writing in a historical era and I realize there is almost no information on the time period I wanted to write in, so I switch it to a different century. Most of my timeline changes happen early on in the story. I do have one sort-of timeline change that gives me a bit of trouble in my current WIP, but what happened was I made the character much younger than she would have been in the original story I was retelling, and apparently that actually changed a LOT from the original. But oh well, I’m sure I’ll work it out! 🙂


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