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With Nanowrimo coming up in a few weeks, I thought I’d share some tools I’ve been playing with to keep track of a novel’s timeline. One of my works-in-progress involves multiple generations and interwoven plot lines, so a chart was just not going to cut it this time. Have you tried either of these systems? Opinions? Additions?


Aeon Timeline – So far, this is my favorite. If you already use Scrivener, this program makes Scrivener an even more powerful writing platform because it syncs with your Scrivener files. I can’t impress upon you enough how awesome that is. When I add an event in Aeon, it asks me if I want to create a corresponding file in Scrivener. When I write a new scene in Scrivener, I can put the date and time of the action and Aeon will create a new event on the timeline when the projects sync. It’s like magic.

There is one caveat to this product. It is not free, but they do offer a generous free trial. It lists at $39.99 and they offer significant discounts for Nanowrimo participants and winners. This year they are offering a 20% discount to Nano participants with the coupon code NANO2014.

Wendy’s Story Timeline –  Wendy over at Wendy’s Writing Now has developed a clever spreadsheet to track character’s ages relative to major life events. If you are writing historical fiction or a multigenerational saga, her spreadsheet could save you hours of chart keeping and checking through your drafts to make sure people are aging consistently. I haven’t used this spreadsheet very much, yet it seems very handy.

How do you keep track of events in your novels? Do you set up a timeline before you start writing or do you make one in the editing phase to make sure everything lines up?