Timelines ??

Ti
TinaInWonderland
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:08 pm
Platform: Windows

Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:21 am Post

I like to use visual timelines when planning novels, and that seems to be the only thing I can't figure out how to do in Scrivener, though the software is absolutley fabulous in every other aspect. :D

I can't include timeline info on the cards, because I need it somewhere it won't change if I reorder my scenes and things. Has anyone figured out how to do it successfully, or is there timeline software somewhere I could use? Even something online where I could create a timeline and copy as a picture in the research folder would be cool.

I'm neck deep in NaNo planning, so any and all suggestions will be appreciated. 8)

ma
matt
Posts: 1180
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:35 am

Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:57 am Post

I was about to reply and direct you to Aeon Timeline, the application I am developing.

But I just realised this is the Windows forum, and it is currently Mac only, so you'll have to wait another 6 months or so until the Mac one is complete and I can think about writing a Windows beta.

Matt

Sc
Scribe
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:50 am
Platform: Mac

Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:09 am Post

I could also REALLY use timeline software for my story. It's a rather complicated epic fantasy with multiple point of views. Scrivener doesn't have a way to do a timeline (that I know of), but if anybody can suggest some timeline software I'd also appreciate it!

Me
Metonymy
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:36 am
Platform: Windows

Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:22 am Post

You could create a top level folder and within that create new pages whose titles are the time and the character. I did exactly that when I brought my alternate history timeline into Scrivener for my current project. It's not ideal (there are some navigation enhancements that would help), but it worked quite well as it's basically a reference for myself. It probably would be too cumbersome for something really large (like a complicated epic fantasy novel), but maybe not.

Another Scrivener only solution would be to create the timeline as above, but as a separate Scrivener project. I'm doing exactly that with a large project. I'm using one project for world building/characters/research/reference and another project that is for the actual writing. It started off as a productivity experiment and it's working. At least for that story.
Last edited by Metonymy on Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cn
cnut
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:13 am
Platform: Windows
Location: northern Virginia, USA

Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:02 am Post

Here's my inelegant but workable solution. My timeline is now 100+ events, so I uploaded an early version to provide the gist of it. It works pretty well, actually! My historical events are dated (see below), but my fictional events (which are not included in the image) aren't. This allows me to use the corkboard to move fictional events around within the real historical timeline, in order to get fact and fiction all sorted out chronologically as I continue to develop ideas. As can be seen, this is a separate folder in the binder, which is quite useful for timelining -- it doesn't affect chapters or scenes; it's just a separate planning tool. This is a primitive approach, I admit, but I've fooled around with a lot of timeline software and generally found the whole SW genre to be too tedious and demanding.

Image

Be
BethCutter
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:52 am
Platform: Windows

Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:02 pm Post

cnut wrote:Here's my inelegant but workable solution. My timeline is now 100+ events, so I uploaded an early version to provide the gist of it. It works pretty well, actually! My historical events are dated (see below), but my fictional events (which are not included in the image) aren't. This allows me to use the corkboard to move fictional events around within the real historical timeline, in order to get fact and fiction all sorted out chronologically as I continue to develop ideas. As can be seen, this is a separate folder in the binder, which is quite useful for timelining -- it doesn't affect chapters or scenes; it's just a separate planning tool.


Very nice! But I'm wondering if it might work to simply make the historical/dated cards a clearly different color, and then include them in the main folder? That way you could instantly see the meshing of history and fiction.

A book I wrote last year had the events taking place over a six day period. I had bright red cards to mark the start of each day as a quick visual reminder.

User avatar
RussWhaley
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:19 pm
Platform: Windows

Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:52 am Post

The kind of timeline you're describing sounds very much like a Gantt diagram.
Maybe this could be a feature in a future release? Could be very handy to have.

Cheers,

Russ
Version: 2.9.0.29 Beta (743042) 64-bit - 14 Nov 2019
OS: Windows 10 Home 64 bit V.1903 Build 18362.476

User avatar
olorinpc
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:35 am
Platform: Windows
Location: Jamestown, ND USA
Contact:

Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:38 am Post

Timelines aren't something likely to be included in Scrivener itself, though efforts (as seen above) are being made by 3rd party developers.

Keith has a post on this here: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/blog/?p=104

it is in relation to Scrivener 2.0 for Mac, but is probably relevant for the Windows variant.

Relevant portion:

A Timeline

I think I should clear this up once and for all, given that it’s a request that comes up every so often: Scrivener is unlikely ever to have a timeline feature. (I won’t say “never”, but it is highly unlikely.) I can – sort of – see the logic behind this request. At first glance it may seem that Scrivener has a corkboard, an outliner, a word processor, and hey, these are writers’ tools, and a timeline is also a writing tool, so why not have that too, all in one place? But it’s not quite like that. Scrivener’s corkboard, outliner and editor are all integrated (and even more so in version 2.0) – they are different ways of viewing the same structural information; each provides a window onto a part of the structure of the binder, showing either the subdocuments or the textual (or media) content of a document or group.

A timeline, however, is something completely different, and somewhat antithetical to Scrivener’s structure-based system. Unlike Scrivener’s outliner and corkboard, there is no way that a timeline could be directly integrated with the file/folder structure (except for perhaps the most linear and flat-structured of projects). For instance, how could you access it in the interface? The corkboard and outliner represent the contents of the folder or container you have selected in the binder. You wouldn’t want a separate timeline only covering the subdocuments of each container, though, and yet that’s the way Scrivener “thinks”. More importantly, there is an inherent conflict between a structure-based system (such as Scrivener’s) and a time+player-based system (which is the basis for timeline programs). There is no logical way for changes in one system to affect the other (especially given that any given story may be told chronologically, backwards, in medias res or, Slaughterhouse 5-style, all over the place).


There is a bit more on this, Keith spends quite a while covering it since it comes up rather frequently, but hopefully that helps cover why there isn't one already included in Scrivener.
Jakob Barnard
EpicPlains.com

Writer, Editor, Blogger

Do
DougElerath
Posts: 111
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:09 pm
Platform: Mac

Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:39 pm Post

Two suggestions:
1. I use a PIM (EssentialPIM) to layout my overall story with resolution at an hour or so (my stories take place over a few weeks). Works kind of like Outlook or any other scheduler. Has issues when multiple events are taking place simultaneously.
2. I use jxProject when I want a Gantt view. It is free and quite good. I use it to orchestrate the timelines when things are happening simultaneously, or I need extremely fine time resolution. Say I am orchestrating a fight scene with five or six principals involved.

Regards,
Doug
Mini Mac & MacAir
But formerly Win XP, SP3

VJ
VJC
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:31 pm
Platform: Windows

Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:08 pm Post

I use Dia: http://live.gnome.org/Dia
use the UML stick figures to name each character and then yse the line tool to connect them to a location. give each character a different colour and off you go. Personally I use the class stereotype icon for locations and change it to a control, boundary or entity depending on if a scene's going to happen there or not.

Gives me a nice, colourful, visual, timeline of events and I can see who's interacting with who and where.

Do
Dorky
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:28 am
Platform: Windows

Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:51 am Post

Here are my suggestions:
1) Get a program that can do Gantt diagrams. We even use this sort of thing at work when planning out our scheduling for the next few months/years.

2) If you already have a copy of Microsoft Office, use Excel to create something like this for your timeline. (Haha, I know that's terribly empty, but trying to take a large shot of the whole timeline was horrible. Hopefully you get the idea.)
Excel can also do gantt charts, in a way, but I think Microsoft Project would be better for that if you have it.

Di
DickKeaton
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:21 pm
Platform: Mac + Windows

Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:03 pm Post

I'm not sure if I understand exactly what you are looking for, but you might want to check out a program called StoryBook. I use it to track timelines, character appearances, etc., especially across different POVs. It is a bit of a pain to enter all the data into it that you need, but once you've done that, I find it to be very useful when used in concert with Scrivener.

Good luck.

si
simeva
Posts: 493
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:30 pm
Platform: Windows
Location: Sheffield

Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:36 pm Post

Couldn't this be sorted out with some improved metadata functionality?

1 - add some user-defined metadata fields
2 - among whose format options are 'yes/no' and 'date/time'
3 - the capacity to filter (search) on, and order the search results on, the metadata fields
4 - and (as we can already do) save the search results as a dynamic collection.

and hey presto, there's a timeline, of sorts!

Maybe this isn't what others are asking for, but I'd find this kind of thing very useful.

I'm not a programmer, and maybe there are all kinds of reasons why this won't work / has horrendous implications / etc. (And don't feel you need to waste your time if it'll take hours to explain... :))