I’ve been working on a timeline for my historical characters. I’ve spent the better part of the past three months (not including the month spent in Europe…sigh) going through my research resources in order to include as much relative information as I can cull to my character timeline.

I’m currently at page 39 and counting.

Recently I had to stop and ask myself…is this timeline just one more tool in my already-too-crowded procrastination garage – OR – does this timeline serve a purpose to move my writing forward?

Of course, initially I chose the “tool” option. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to beat myself up.

But THEN, whilst writing my Morning Pages, I had a proverbial Aha moment!

Muse: It’s about time.

I realized that time spent on the timeline for my historical characters is actually a great way (pat on the back) to “get to know” my characters!

I have to confess – I do not like creating characters. I’m certain that this is the reason I prefer to write historical pieces; the characters have already existed. All I have to do is fill in the “thoughts and feelings” blanks. But I need a timeline in order to understand my real characters and the real events in their lives so that I might intuit why they made the choices they made and how they might have reacted to their decisions (drum roll, please…) – to uncover their motivation!

Call me “thick” but could it be that after 12 years of writing and reading about writing and going to writing conferences (blah, blah, blah) I finally understand the connection between character development and motivation???

Muse: Not thick. Nothing you’ve encountered up to now has demonstrated this connection until you pushed your way through the door and past the doubt.
Me: Thanks. I mean it.
Muse: No problem. Get back to your timeline.

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