24 May 2011

The Importance of a Timeline

 I like being an organized person.  I love it when my house is clean, when I know exactly where my favorite pen is because it's in the same place I always put it, and when my writing is outlined.

I've already posted about my plotting techniques, but something I did not write about was the importance of a timeline (umm, is this supposed to be one word?  Because Blogger keeps putting that squiggly red line under it).  I hand wrote a timeline a month back for this new WIP, but since then have felt the need to make one on the computer, which I did yesterday. Yay!

Here it is:

Well frick, I can't get Blogger to post it.  I guess you guys will just have to imagine it.  It's a line with a bunch of text bubbles coming up from the top of it and on the bottom are day markers.

Here's a quick summary of how I made it:
1. In your word document, go to the tab Insert. Under insert, click on shapes and choose a style of line.  You can have a squiggly line, a straight line, a straight line with arrows.  Oh so many options.

2. After you've chosen your line, click on the document and draw the line out.

3. Now is the fun part.  Go back to Insert-> Shapes, and this time go to Callouts- these are the bubbles that come off the line.  Again, oh so many options!  Stick the Callout of your choice onto the line and type away.

See, it's easy.

Now, why do I think a timeline is so important?  Because if you don't know what's happening on different days in your WIP than your reader sure won't.  This is a great reminder to put this information into your chapters, separating events and days.  If a month has passed, make sure to say a month has passed, or if it's only the next morning, say it's the next morning.

I'm already in love with my timeline and how it's helped my writing, and I've only had it for a day.  Go make one of your own!

P.S. Be sure to come back in a couple days to see why I think writers are like wrestlers, and the writer's journey is like WWE!


  1. So often I will write something and think, "oh I'll remember that," only to forget it very soon after. A timeline would really help this. Thanks for the directions on that:)

  2. WOW! Excellent post, Juliana. I too believe in using time lines. They can really help us remember. I see a lot of writers who forget this in their stories and it confuses their entire book. EVERYONE SHOULD EITHER COPY AND PASTE THIS OR BOOKMARK IT.

    Thanks for reading my interview. It is sooo cool to meet a writer who draws out scenes. (I thought I was the only one. :-)

  3. Cool, I had no idea Word could do that! I always want to be organized, but my frazzled/pantser way of thinking makes it hard for me to stay on top of it. The one time I made a time chart though (it wasn't a full-on timeline, just a few notes on like ages and when some things happened), it really made things easier for me.

    Anyway, thanks for the tip! :D