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:

Happy writing!

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