Fictional Timelines with Aeon 2 and Scrivener

I’ve been working with Aeon Timeline 2 software this past week, learning all the new features that were added with the upgrade from the first version.  I need to keep up with timelines when I write, and the visuals available on AT2 make it easy to find the exact dates when events take place in my fictional worlds. Glancing at the screen for a couple seconds beats the hell out of having to skim through multiple chapters to figure out when characters met or major plot points occur. Especially when I’m working on a series.

Aeon 2 logoThere’s a bit of a learning curve involved in figuring out all the new perks offered in Aeon Timeline 2. It’s really not difficult at all, but I spent a few hours looking at the user manual, tutorials, and YouTube videos to understand  all the features and the ways other writers utilize them. It’s easy once you learn how everything works.

The main thing I need in a timeline is obviously dated events, color coded for subplots and threads and such. The next major thing is linking characters to these events. Aeon lets you associate a character with an event as either a participant or a witness to what takes place, and best of all, it automatically calculates their ages for each event. That alone saves me a ton of time since I’m currently working on a series that spans hundred of years.

This software syncs with Scrivener, which is awesome! All I have to do to create a timeline that goes with my Work-in-Progress is open Aeon, click the sync tab, and choose which Scrivener project I need. Then it’s a simple matter of choosing which events I need to sync between Aeon and Scrivener.  The Project Sync Settings let you choose exactly what you allow to sync, so you don’t have to worry about files getting bogged down with stuff you don’t want. One timeline can be synced with multiple Scrivener projects, which makes it ideal for working on series and sequels. Mine is currently set up so that events sync to the timeline already color coded to match labels I assigned in Scrivener, with their start and end dates so they pop in exactly where they go. You can see screenshots from Aeon’s website here.

I’ve been playing around with the setting, trying to figure out the best way to customize a template for my novels. If you have any tips or tricks for working with Aeon Timeline 2, please share them in the comments.  🙂

 

NaNo Time’s Almost Here

Ahh, the leaves are turning, autumn’s in the air, mums and pumpkins abound.   That can only mean NaNoWriMo 2011 will start in a just a couple of weeks.  I can’t wait!!  This will be my 7th year, and I can’t imagine November without the highs of hitting my daily word count alternating with the lows of falling behind, the sleepless nights spent happily clacking away on my latest NaNo novel along with thousands of other participants, and the buckets of coffee and snack food to fuel my exhausted little mind. 

If you’ve never joined the quest to write 50,000 words in 30 days, you should definitely give it a try.  Not only will you come out with a fresh new rough draft, but you’ll be in the habit of sitting down to write each day.  Whether you’re a newbie or a published novelist, NaNo offers something for everyone.

This year Scrivener has a special NaNo Trial Edition of their software, for both Mac and Windows, which should be available for download any day now.  I installed the Windows beta version recently and LOVE it.  The NaNo version is supposed to have a few little extras tailored for the wrimos, so I look forward to upgrading to that one.  The software is so versatile, and I especially like their corkboard.

Who else is excited about NaNo?