So on my day off yesterday, between creeping about the upstairs of my house and fighting off the sleepiness (I guess I really did have some affliction) I worked out the chronology of my Fathers and Sons stories, assigning a month and year to each based on age cues I had written in to them.
The (19) stories span the years 1968 to 2013. In that time, a man has a new son, that son has a new son, and that son has reached the age where he could have a new son. Each story is supposed to be able to stand alone, but taken together, I think they do a good job of telling the life stories of these three men, at least for the time we get to see them.
What I was specifically looking for by doing the chronology (aside from any anachronisms) were any large gaps in the narrative that perhaps needed to be filled with another story. In some cases, one story follows another by only a month. Most gaps are only one or two years long. But there is a nine-year gap in one case, fairly early in the chronology.
I’m not sure what to do about that. I don’t think it’s a bad thing per se. I don’t think it is calling out to be filled, and I don’t think any important character developments are missing that could be addressed there with a new story. (This, however, may be my story-telling fatigue asserting itself; I really would like to be finished with the Fathers and Sons cycle.)
I have an idea for a story. It would showcase different approaches to parenting, and I have notes for it. Plus I have thousands of words of notes for the other stories that I never used. I think I could write a filler story. But I worry that it would be just that: filler. My intent is not to contrast parenting styles; it is to tell the stories of these three characters.
Nailing down the chronology was an important step before the major rewrite (based on the narrator epiphany I had) could begin. Many of the stories include flashbacks and memories, and it may be that in the rewrites I’ll find ways to include more of this to address that gap period (and another of six years). Or not. The integrity of the stories is what will guide my fingers across the keyboard.