It’s about time – Aeon Timeline

Partial timline of events for "Welcome to the Valleys."
This is only shows events which have already occured. No spoilers if you’ve been keeing up!

As Christmas approached my inbox received a message from the good folks at Literature & Latte, the makers of Scrivener. Inside the message were a number of special offers for several apps which pair well with Scrivener 1. One of these was a 25% discount on an application I’d been spying for some time Aeon Timeline. Laying aside the fact I am a nerd who loves exploring timelines, I thought Aeon Timeline would help me flesh out the pre-history of the world in which The Valleys reside. A quarter off the already inexpensive $40 price was simply too good a deal to pass up, I got myself a license.

Aeon Timeline is simple, and yet incredibly powerful. Within ten minutes of purchasing the software I had a custom template created with three epochs and several arcs – which is really all I can say about my timeline’s structure. As a history enthusiast, it’s actually painful not to reveal the plot’s backstory. Since not even the characters know much about The Valley’s pre-history, however, you’ll just have to take my word about how simple it was the set up and populate.

I spent the better part of an afternoon fleshing out the narrative of the Extinction War, and what happened in it’s aftermath. It was absolutely amazing to see the storyline I’d been playing out in my head take a more concrete form through the timeline. Writing the notes which described various events was an invigorating creative exercise. Using this software is a ton of fun. Characters can even be tracked through the different timeline elements, which allows writers to keep track of who is doing what, when 2.

When it came time to map the timeline of the story as it’s thus far been told 3, I was able to further extend the power of the software by actually syncing it with my Scrivener project. When this sync is run, custom metadata is added to documents in the target project. These metadata fields can be synced with events already on the timeline, or filled in through the Scrivener editor and actually added to the timeline. Seeing the sync feature in action through Scribblecode’s demo videos is truly worth watching 4.

I’m looking forward to completing the task of fleshing out the characters’ back stories using Aeon Timeline. I also have much more to cover about the world’s history prior to Welcome to the Valleys, and I can’t think of a better tool to use than Aeon Timeline. It’s a fantastic piece of software which has already helped me visualize the complexity of the world which has popped out of my head. If you are a writer, this is absolutely a piece of software you want to pick up.

  1. I do have to say, I love the collaborative way many of makers of writing-centric apps get along. 
  2. I’d love so see someone make an timeline for Lord of the Rings
  3. That’s what the screen shot shows, by the way, no spoilers. 
  4. The demo video mentions a special project template for syncing. This is not, strictly speaking, necessary.