While writing my memoir, I found that a timeline of key events in my characters’ lives helped me excavate memories and find context. I recently added another element to my timeline that has helped me advance the emotional beats of the story as I revise. And it works for fiction as well as memoir.
Because writers must go beyond the events of a story or life to include the meaning behind the memories, I realized that a key part of a timeline could include notes about the significance, emotion, and outcomes of character milestones.
As part of my timeline, I list ages and family milestones: births, deaths, major illnesses, turning points, and historical events. The new addition of emotion and meaning behind those events helped me find more opportunities to add conflict and resolution to my scenes. Read more