Writing Tip #9
“Leverage the flow of time while editing.”
— Michael Weaver —
Authors can often view time as their enemy, particularly when working to meet a deadline for a publisher or client. However, time can be one of your greatest allies and a valuable tool when you are in the process of editing what you have written.
Due to its very nature, time flows in one direction, mirroring the flow of pages or leaves that make up a book. Paying careful attention to this "flow of time" can make it much easier to determine not only which events should occur first in a book, but also the order of the characters to appear.
If you are writing a non-fiction educational text, this same technique can be used to provide "stepping stones" for learning, ensuring that foundational concepts precede their use or implementation.
This is not to say that everything should be strictly sequential - oftentimes it shouldn't. However, having a clear understanding of the flow of events and information is the first step towards being able to do something unique and unusual with the presentation of your work.
Although the overall information might be the same, stop to consider what might be gained by withholding a small piece (or large section) of information either for a reader or student. Similarly, is it possible to use small, seemingly insignificant pieces of information to "seed" ideas within the mind of the reader?
Even in a book that works with dates (such as Science & Perception) does it help to change the sequencing, perhaps placing a chapter or section out of chronological order.
Just like anything else, play with these ideas and make them your own and realize that when it comes to writing, or any type of authoring, time really is on your side.