4 Benefits To Creating A Story Timeline

I”m now editing “I Won’t Cry” which is part two of my Jaylen and Jessica series, the first one being When Love Hurts. One of the things that stood out the most about editing this book is that it’s a lot longer and there’s a lot more stuff going on. I wanted a way to keep track of everything that happens in the story and how much time passes between each point in the book. So I created a timeline to help me “see” the story and keep events in order.

What?

A timeline for a story is a timeframe used from any calendar year showing all major events in the story and any other important details that matters.

Why?

How can a timeline be useful to you?

Here are the 3 benefits of creating a timeline:

1.  You’ll have clarity

Your story may be bobbing around in your head or in your notebook but since it’s not in order you can easily forget information or get confused about your details. A timeline will have all your story’s information  so you know what happens first, next, then, and last.

2. You’ll be more organized

You don’t want to have a book all over the place with events happening two weeks after each other when they were supposed to happen months apart.

So you can use a timeline to keep track of how old everyone is and what they can and can not do at each time period in their lives whether it’s walking, driving a car, or legally drinking alcohol.

3. Seasons

You can track the seasons a lot better when you create a timeline. You can involve whether in your story that goes a lot deeper than “it’s hot”.

For example, if you plot your story on the time line happening in early February then you can have a winter story filled with snow, snowmen, snow angels, and hot chocolate.

4. Character Growth

I talk a lot about the importance of character growth in a story and I do it because it’s very important. This is your character’s story and it needs to be a change in that character.

You can plot your character’s growth in a timeline as well by noting how they are in the beginning, middle and end. then you can add events in between the gaps that end up changing your character after time.

How To Create A Timeline

 

1. Know your story

2. Create  list of everything that happens in January, February, March, April, etc…

so you can plan out everything that happens first, next and last. You don’t have to start at January. You can start in whatever month works with your story the best but remember your seasons.

3. Put in how your character’s growth span…

including desires, goals, motivation, what they know and don’t know, and anything that helps define them at each point in the story.

4. You don’t have to go by months.

If your story does not span past months you can go day-to-day or week to week. You can even go year to year. It all depends on your story. creating a timeline just helps you sort all your information out so you limit your confusion levels.

 

The great thing about a timeline is that you can always go back and tweak it. You can add, take away and really see your story laid out. You may be surprised by what you find. For example, you can notice a time issue with events in your story. Maybe they’re too close or too far apart. Or maybe you’ll find something that’s just weird. It may be worth trying.

Thanks for reading. If you created something like this before please tell me how it went.

-Shaquanda

photo credit: 123.rf.com

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About the Author

Shaquanda Dalton

Hello, my name is Shaquanda Dalton and welcome to Learnasyouwrite.com! A little about myself, I'm 20, I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and am a Sohomore at the University of Wisonsin-Milwaukee. I love writing and have written short stories and simple works since I was nine years old. I have a cute cate named Joey who loves to scratch and bite on his good days.

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