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Writing a Dual Timeline Novel ain’t a piece of cake… 7 tips for writing two different eras at once by Jina Bacarr

July 11, 2021 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , , , , ,

I’ve written time travel and loved it… Her Lost Love when my heroine takes a magic train from 1955 back to 1943 to Posey Creek, PA to save the man she loves from being killed in France… and present day back to the Battle of Antietam in 1862 where my heroine meets her ‘twin’ who’s a Confederate spy… and also historical fiction about the Titanic The Runaway Girl.

But writing a dual timeline is like walking barefoot on broken seashells on the sand.

Painful. Excruciating. And dangerous.

You can end up hobbling all the way home… or to the end of your manuscript. Yikes.

I’ve been there… and survived. I’ve written two dual timeline novels — The Resistance Girl and the novel I just finished (title coming) — both about Paris during World War 2 when the city was occupied by the Nazis. The era lends itself to intrigue, romance, spies… and danger. Who could resist? Not me.

However, I’ve fretted and moaned and had more chocolate binges than I care to admit writing these books, but they’re the most rewarding stories I’ve ever written. Stories about lost family found and connecting with your ‘roots’. I learned a lot along the way… so here are my 7 Tips for Writing Dual Timelines:

1 — keep two sets of timelines so you know where you and your heroines are in each era at all times.

Your heroine’s birthdate in the past is important and determines what “historical events’ she witnesses. In the present, your heroine’s journey may last a shorter time — a week, month; in the past, it could be years. In The Resistance Girl, we follow the heroine’s film career from the 1920s through 1950. The modern heroine’s journey last for several days.

2 — present day in your story doesn’t have to mean today. Make it work for you.

My latest novel takes place in 2003 and 1940-1945. Why? Because I wanted my historical heroine to be alive when she meets the present day heroine. She’s 80 years old and at the top of her game, but the war years still haunt her. Also, she loves flying on the Concorde and the last trip of the airship was in 2003.

3 — create a compelling opening in whichever timeline works best. No hard fast rule you have to begin in the past.

In my new Paris novel, I begin in 2003 because I wanted to set up the 80-year-old diva’s reluctance to talk about the war years because of her personal pain. My modern heroine/reporter convinces her to ‘let it go’ and we’re off and running…

4 — decide before you begin plotting (or if you’re a pantster — I do both) if your two heroines meet at some point; or, if we know the historical heroine meets her fate and we never see her in the present.

I did both — in The Resistance Girl, the modern heroine discovers she had a famous grandmother in France during the war — a film star — she never knew existed. But in my new novel, the two heroines meet in the first chapter in 2003.

5 — know your history and research your era like crazy; your heroine in the past is fictional, but make her life believable! Facts count but don’t tell us, show us how your heroine survives in that era in a way that’s unique to her.

For example, the historical heroine in my upcoming book ends up in concentration camps; I gave her an unusual backstory that determined how she survived in the camps because of her background and talents, but made sure it was also possible.

6 — location, location, location… make sure you know exactly what your locations look like in both eras if you’re going to visit them in both timelines. 

In my upcoming book about Paris, we go to concentration camp sites in Germany and Poland in both 1944-45, 1975, and 2003. I was fortunate to find photos and films that showed what the camps looked like in 1944-45 and also circa 2003 and 1975. An amazing bit of luck which created some tear-jerking moments for my historical heroine.

7 — have fun! This is an adventure about finding your heroine’s roots — like that fabulous PBS show where the celebrity goes through the big scrapbook and meets their lost relatives with the jovial host.

Make your story heartfelt, emotional, fascinating, believable, and filled with surprises to keep your readers turning those pages like the celeb on TV!

Jina

Questions about dual timelines:

Drop me a comment!

           

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Jina Bacarr June Featured Author

June 29, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

About Jina Bacarr

Jina Bacarr | A Slice of Orange

I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve.

I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling.

I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

You can follow Jina on social media:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest
Goodreads
Bookbub

Jina also has a column here on the 11th of every month: Jina’s Book Chat.

A Few of Jina’s Books

A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

Buy now!
A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

Buy now!
A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

Buy now!
CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

COME FLY WITH ME

Buy now!
COME FLY WITH ME

LOVE ME FOREVER

Buy now!
LOVE ME FOREVER

RESISTANCE GIRL

Buy now!
RESISTANCE GIRL

THE RUNAWAY GIRL

Buy now!
THE RUNAWAY GIRL

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Jina Bacarr June Featured Author

June 21, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

About Jina Bacarr

Jina Bacarr | A Slice of Orange

I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve.

I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling.

I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

You can follow Jina on social media:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest
Goodreads
Bookbub

Jina also has a column here on the 11th of every month: Jina’s Book Chat.

A Few of Jina’s Books

A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

Buy now!
A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

Buy now!
A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

Buy now!
CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

COME FLY WITH ME

Buy now!
COME FLY WITH ME

LOVE ME FOREVER

Buy now!
LOVE ME FOREVER

RESISTANCE GIRL

Buy now!
RESISTANCE GIRL

THE RUNAWAY GIRL

Buy now!
THE RUNAWAY GIRL

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Jina Bacarr June Featured Author

June 17, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

About Jina Bacarr

Jina Bacarr | A Slice of Orange

I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve. I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling. I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

You can follow Jina on social media:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest
Goodreads
Bookbub

Jina also has a column here on the 11th of every month: Jina’s Book Chat.

A Few of Jina’s Books

A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

Buy now!
A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

Buy now!
A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

Buy now!
CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

COME FLY WITH ME

Buy now!
COME FLY WITH ME

LOVE ME FOREVER

Buy now!
LOVE ME FOREVER

RESISTANCE GIRL

Buy now!
RESISTANCE GIRL

THE RUNAWAY GIRL

Buy now!
THE RUNAWAY GIRL

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To Deadline Hell and Back or How I’m coping finishing my next Occupied Paris novel by Jina Bacarr

June 11, 2021 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , ,

I had every intention of writing a lovely post this month about all the cool stuff going on with my WW 2 Occupied Paris novel, The Resistance Girl. Honest I did.

Then the research on my next book shot the pants off that idea.

My deadline is right around the corner.

My book is written… mostly. Some bugs to work out. Re-read, check it over… you know the drill.

The research is overwhelming… so much so, I’ve got to cut this shorter than I like. I’m writing another book about Occupied Paris, but this time my heroine finds herself in a concentration camp. Two of them actually… emotionally, I’m drained. Mentally I’m exhausted.

My heart… broken.

I will never, never be able to understand why it happened, the horror, injustice, humiliation done to the victims of the Holocaust. But I’m determined to tell a story about a brave young woman who had a baby in a camp… and she survived. But she never knew what happened to her baby… until years later.

I’ve watched a million survivor videos… read so many books about the Holocaust… checked and double checked the timelines of the camps and what happened there down to what they ate, where the railroad tracks ended at camp, the blocks or barracks map… and I still have questions. I want to make it right.

No, I’ve got to make it right.

I owe to the those who died and those who survived.

So forgive me if I’m emotional this month.

Because.

We must never forget…

——————-

You can listen to The Resistance Girl on Spotify

Or search for Jina Bacarr and my ‘artiste’ page will pop up.

Amazon Links:

US https://amzn.to/3woj1Am

UK https://amzn.to/3bU18Qv

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