The Planning In Writing a Series: Calendars of the Future

Sometimes I think people don’t realize how much research, planning, and care is taken in writing fiction. I’ve written before about the amount of research I’ve done for my futuristic Seed Savers series, but the care I’ve taken in working out the chronological order, the seasons in which certain plants would be bearing fruit in certain regions, whether or not I have the right day of the week for some date in the far future . . . these are also things I’ve worried about and painstakingly researched and planned out.

Thank God for the internet.

This whole process, of course, becomes much more complicated over the course of a five-book series with multiple storylines and characters who are not always moving in sync. (Example, in book 3, Heirloom, Clare and Dante’s storyline in Canada is not happening at the same time as Lily’s storyline in the U.S.).

When I wrote the first book, I wasn’t really planning a five-book series. The book was very seat-of-your-pants. As I started adding more books, I started adding calendars. By the time I got around to the final book, this is what I had:


It was really crazy! Every now and then I couldn’t reconcile a few things. Will anyone notice? I’d ask myself. Does anyone but me care? I also did this with the kids’ ages. I realized I should have already known my characters’ birthdays. Oh, the trials and tribulations of being a pantser!

Or maybe I just make things more difficult than they need to be. If you are a reader, do you pay attention to the geography, seasons, distance, and timing in books you read? If you are a writer, do you make calendars and research minute details? I’d love to hear what you think in the comment section below.

Included in the new Flying Books House Seed Savers editions are links to many of the research sources used in writing the books.

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!


5 comments on “The Planning In Writing a Series: Calendars of the Future

  1. As a reader, I am very annoyed by discrepancies. One author’s subject had one family milk cow. Only a few pages later, as a storm closed in, great effort was made to get all the cows in! It makes me wonder if anyone was editing!

  2. I pay attention to those details, as a reader. I don’t go looking for discrepancies, but when I see them it bugs me.
    Like in the Anne of Green Gables series–Marilla and Gilbert’s dad were an item once, but wouldn’t that make him too old to be Gilbert’s dad?

  3. Thank you for your input. I feel vindicated for all my effort!

  4. I did this slightly in reverse: I have detailed timelines for the first three or four in the Princelings series, then it got a bit more haphazard. Oh, yes I did it for book 5, because I needed to know when full moons were! I needed that for a couple of the others too, but I’m afraid I only looked for internal consistency as mine is a similar world to our own rather than the same one.
    My laziness caught me on the latest two books since they both link to things that happened earlier as the title, Chronicles of Marsh, probably suggests!
    I don’t know the birthdays of all the characters, but I do know the main ones, and you know why!
    I think you’ve done a terrific job with this series. I’m looking forward to reading the last one – interestingly both Wendy Leighton-Porter and I are on our last ones now, too. I think Cheryl has her last Guinevere out, too. My last won’t be published till next year, though.

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