I’ve never been one for entirely rigid timelines when I’m in the middle of writing, but when I do make them, I’m generally going forward with the odd trip back for important points in the past.
Not so with the spellster series. To Target the Heart starts months before In Pain and Blood and a few others begin earlier still. I’m half writing a series in reverse order.
But they’ve all got to intersect. People are popping up in one story who are in others and they have to logically get from one place to another. “A wizard did it” is not an option here, despite all the magic.
I’ve several facts scattered through In Pain and Blood. Dylan’s birth date is pinned to midsummer, something that was a few months prior to him mentioning it in the story. That also means In Pain and Blood was set in autumn. Not that Demarn’s climate shows much of a difference in the seasons. Less heat and more rain in winter is about it. But all the points were right where I needed them to be for certain statements made in the epilogue to be true. I’m not surprised. I did work all that out years ago, after all.
But it’s never helped much with the other novels beyond a few vague “this before that” settings. So, I settled down to work it out.
I’d a starting base of the years with Tracker’s birthdate (spring baby). And his age let me figure out In Pain and Blood is set in this world’s 1902nd year after the arrival of the elven refuge ships. From there, I could work back the 37 years to Hamish’s midwinter birth, and Darshan’s as well.
Figuring out just where their story intersects with In Pain and Blood was a little trickier.
I have two points to hit. To Target the Heart‘s story starts in the early spring. There’s also a major character in In Pain and Blood that pops up in To Poison a Prince. That’s around about the Nulshar visit, so not terribly far away in comparison but she’ll have some travelling to get to her starting point in IPaB.
As the dates stand, To Target the Heart finishes a few months before In Pain and Blood begins. To Poison a Prince continues on from TTtH, but a few months after and continues in the background whilst IPaB‘s story runs on.
The timelines are certainly going to get interesting once I slot in Spectre of the Golden Voice and Through Smoke and Fire. I’m quite glad in my decision to wait for TPaP to be done before tackling either one. After all that comes Between Heart and Home.
Do you bother with timelines? Have you ever had to backtrack?