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Friday, February 20, 2015

Using Calendars in Writing

While planning my writing, I have found it helpful to use calendars in two instances:

1.  Put together my own calendar for a book storyline

2.  Refer to a calendar for a book I’m writing.

In one instance, I was writing a story set in 2024 with time travel back to the past. The action took place over about a week period, with the story moving back and forth between what was taking place in 2024 and what was happening in 1859. I used a spreadsheet to construct a calendar although some may prefer to use a table instead. The primary characters were listed on the left-hand column. I kept the 2024 events in black, the historical events in green, and my own notes in red.

I was coordinating days as well as dated between two time periods. For the 2024 setting, I needed to know what day of the week the Fourth of July will fall on. I found this information by doing a Google or Yahoo search using the search terms “Calendar 2024.” The calendar I like best is under

In 1859, much of the plot was built around the Carrington Event which took place between August 29th and September 2nd. Since this involved an astronomical event, it would be interesting to also know what phase the moon was in at the time.

In my current book, Family Secrets, Mike Carpenter gets  back from the Vietnam War in early 1968. By Thanksgiving, he and his fiancĂ©e are having dinner with both sets of parents who are planning a wedding for the second Saturday in December, the next time Mike, a city carrier with the Post Office, has his “long weekend” of Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. They decide to get married on Saturday, December 14th.

In Family Secrets, Jennie Graves Howell has a secret, including being thought of as a loyal wife to her husband serving in Afghanistan, a husband who has demanded a divorce. Jennie’s family do not want her to delve into the past. Grandpa Mike refuses to talk about his experiences in the Vietnam War and the aftermath. He wants the biggest mistake he ever made to remain hidden in the past, including family members Jennie never heard about until hints of their existence begin to seep through the cracks of secrecy. Her new friends at the Golden Oaks Family Ties club are willing to teach Jennie the skills she needs to unlock her family’s secrets, but is she willing and emotionally strong enough to learn what her family has kept hidden?

Robyn Echols writes using the pen name, Zina Abbott. Her novel, Family Secrets, has been published by Fire Star Press and is now available on Amazon HERE and on Barnes & Nobel for Nook HERE

Also available:
 Big Meadows Valentine, on Amazon Kindle HERE and on Nook HERE 

 A Christmas Promise on Amazon Kindle HERE and Nook HERE.
 Both published by Prairie Rose Publications.