I have two big projects I'll be juggling in the next eight months. One is the second book in my Cool Cat trilogy, and the other is the sequel to Play Dead. I'm kind of freaked out about the Play Dead sequel because the plot is so complex. So I thought about putting together a visual timeline for it. I haven't written a book this complex since I wrote Sleep Tight. Sleep Tight had parallel plots that never converged. It makes for a stronger story if the plots finally converge, but sometimes you just can't make that happen without forcing it too much. Sometimes they simply have to remain parallel. With this sequel, I have pretty much four different plot lines running at the same time. I have an internal plot, I have a love story, and I have two...well, maybe three external plots. And hopefully at least two of the external ones will converge. Oh, and there's also a backstory. Ack. Forgot about a somewhat complex backstory. Oh, hell. Two somewhat complex backstories. One that took place years and years ago, and one that took place months ago.
While I was thinking about how I would handle all of these threads, I decide I would have to make a visual timeline for all of them, and show how they will run parallel, and how they will converge.
I'm sure this thing will cover a whole wall once I start putting it together. (I'll bet there's a program for this, so it can cover my computer screen instead.) But I decided to make a simple one for my cat story. This story basically has one plot line. Way back when I used to walk fifty miles to school through twenty feet of snow, there was a fairly well-established method for the short and sweet Silhouette romances, and that plot structure still works today. If I recall, it was ten basic plot points that took the reader from initial meet, to the dark moment, to the resolution. That's pretty much the formula I used for The Girl with the Cat Tattoo, and it's the formula I will use for the second book. These books are short, and could either be considered a short novel or a longish novella, and books of that length can't always handle much in the way of extra plot threads. IMO.