In the countless writing assignments I’ve ever had in school, one very useful tool my instructors never used or taught me is a timeline. Here are some ideas on how to use timelines in your writing assignments:
- Create a timeline of the major events and turning points in the story
- Brainstorm ideas and just throw them into a random sequence to see if that jogs any new ideas
- Use your own life as an example – create a timeline of your life
I came across a couple of great blog posts about the value of using timelines in writing, one by Steven Savage and the other by Second Wind Publishing. Savage actually uses the term “timeline-based writing.” Second Wind’s post offers some important reminders:
“Timelines are also crucial because you don’t want a “scantily-clad woman” in December…at least not in Chicago…anymore than a snowstorm in August.
Also, keep your timeline handy for comments in the story. If something happened a week ago, you don’t want to say a few days…even more important the other way around.”
Here is also a specific lesson plan idea for writing: http://www.lessonplanspage.com/LAUseTimeLineToDevelopWritingIdeas4.htm.