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daria

Storyist Sync with Aeon Timeline

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I’m a big fan of Storyist and for several reasons find it a far superior writing program than Scrivener. I could never write a novel in Scrivener if for no other reason than I can’t use a program that doesn’t let me easily see and control the formatting of my pages as I go along. But there is one thing that comes with Scrivener that I would absolutely love to see in Storyist and that is the ability to sync with the program Aeon Timeline.

Aeon Timeline is a simple and extremely powerful tool for tracking plots, arcs, characters, backstory etc. You can enter all your characters (or anything else you want) as “entities". Then you can easily create and move around plot points. You can group them into different arcs like “backstory” or anything else you like. Then turn arcs on and off depending on what you look at. The timeline itself moves across the screen horizontally allowing you to zoom in and out of it - in the same way a film editor does in editing programs like Final Cut or Avid where you have the whole movie in a timeline, and can scroll around on it and zoom in and out of different parts to make changes. In this way you can easily see the whole overview of your story at once no matter how many years (or hundreds of years) it may span. Or you can zoom way in and see day by day or hour by hour detail of your storyline. You can then easily create new plot points on the timeline, instantly shift them around, and do all kinds of other things. You can then look down to see which characters are involved in which events - and even turn on features that allow you, for one example, to immediately see the age of each character at the time of each event - and tons of other useful and time saving features.
I know there are tools in Storyist, like the creation of Plot Points or Section Sheets that try to help you see the overview of your novel or script - but they are, understandably, limited. If Storyist were to integrate with with Aeon Timeline in the same way Scrivener does…it would be adding a whole world of really powerful tools that would suddenly turn those fairly limited features into something incredibly useful.
You could, for example, create a bunch of new plot points or events or characters in Aeon Timeline, then look at the “birds eye view” of how they are working - decide they are not quite right - drag them around and play with them until you can see the timing is perfect. Then you could sync with Storyist - and have the option to automatically update all outline as well as your story sheets, character sheets etc. in Storyist based on the timeline.
This ability to “see” your plot, characters, events and arcs in a simple and easy to navigate “picture” makes understanding how your plot is working and where things might be off in a much quicker and more intuitive way than clicking around on lots of lists on different sheets of paper, or even just studying an outline. But the beauty of the syncing is that you then retain the ability in Storyist to go into any of those events on a story sheet and work with the details, attach images, etc. So you end up with the best of both worlds. You can then easily switch between your Storyist "outline" and your Aeon "timeline" - make changes either way - and then just sync them up to update both.
Of course you can use both programs separately like I do now, but the ability to sync between them would save a huge amount of time and allow users to really get the most benefit out of both programs.
Maybe everyone is already familiar with the program, but wanted to give a few details on why the ability to sync with this program could be so incredibly useful for Storyist. I hope it’s something that might be considered.

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Hi, daria:

Just wanted to say thank you. I had never heard of Aeon Timeline, but I checked it out because of your post and am finding it incredibly useful. I have no idea how possible it would be to integrate the two programs, but even running them side by side is helping me keep track of the complex and overlapping timelines in my five-part historical fiction series. :D

Best,

Marguerite

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Hi All:

 

FWIW I was able to export between Omnioutliner and Aeon using plain text and creating the appropriate number of columns, as suggested in the Aeon Help. Haven tried yet with Storyist. I'm still demoing the program.

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Though I would love to see integration between the two, I think a brainstorming session on what that means would be interesting.

 

What I do today manually is to define events in Aeon Timeline and then tie participants to these events if they are involved. I use it to help me pull together different arcs in the story and make sure people, places and things align.

 

I'm not real certain what I want this integration to look like, but I don't believe I would want it altering either my story or my timeline directly.

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I use Aeon timeline and find it to be an essential tool for writing a contemporary thriller. I can populate it with all sorts of arcs - important events in real history that need to be integrated into the story, my significant characters life (birth date, education, formative experiences), and so forth.

 

I use EXCEL to define and track the structure of parallel plot threads. That too is available at a glance. There is no better system than moving the eyes. It's instantaneous, doesn't do anything to disturb my location in the document, and it doesn't pull me out of the zone.

 

I have two monitors (Mac 5K + thunderbolt monitor) so I just open Aeon on the 'other' monitor as a ready (move eyes) reference. There is so much data in the Aeon file for the story it really needs a huge monitor and I still end up scrolling from time to time. I can live with that. Work real fine, last long time.

 

There are a lot of features I'd like to see in Storyist more important to me than some sort of complicated timeline integration. As it is, all I have to do is glance at it when I'm using Storyist, and if I'm working with beta reader comments in WORD, it's still only a glance away.

 

Fitch

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If anyone is interested, I just received a message from Aeon Timeline that it is running a 25% off promotion through June 2015. You enter the coupon code SUMMERFEST2015 at the web store. Nisus Writer Pro is also participating. You can get a complete list of companies at the promotion page.

 

I learned about Aeon Timeline through this thread and do find it very useful for keeping track of my characters—dare I say, even more useful than having a timeline feature in Storyist! :)

Best,

M

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If anyone is interested, I just received a message from Aeon Timeline that it is running a 25% off promotion through June 2015. You enter the coupon code SUMMERFEST2015 at the web store. Nisus Writer Pro is also participating. You can get a complete list of companies at the promotion page.

 

I learned about Aeon Timeline through this thread and do find it very useful for keeping track of my characters—dare I say, even more useful than having a timeline feature in Storyist! :)

Best,

M

Thanks for the heads-up. Just grabbed a copy. Now I have new software to play with... I mean... enter all my plot points and characters and so on... just enough to distract me from that final edit...

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Instead of integrating Aeon with Storyist, maybe we can just have an integrated timeline similar to the one in the old "Storymill" app. Just a thought.

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I would really love to see this too, but Aeon was written specifically for Scrivener. It started out as a small app before getting its own sub-forum at Lit&Lat, where users helped to define scope, and then it was built out to be integrated with Scrivener.

 

That makes it very unlikely that full integration will happen, as it would require both developers working together (we can hope!). However, the file output by Aeon is really just xml, so Storyist could likely come up with a way to allow you to open Aeon files in Storyist and copy the data over.

 

Here is a solution, though: It assumes that 1) you do all your planning in Aeon before writing (which I generally do, and tweak during writing) and 2) you own Aeon, Storyist, and Scrivener. You can create all of your timeline inside of Aeon just as you normally would. Then create a "Shell" project with Scrivener, and spend all the time you need getting your Aeon work synced up with its appropriate place in Scrivener. Then save the Scrivener file, and reopen it with Storyist. Most of the Scrivener stuff appears to get shoved in a pile the corner (because Storyist doesn't have customizable file icons, which I think are super useful), but it's all still there. In fact ALL of the Aeon Timeline items that have been synced remain intact in the sidebar, and in my testing they are all in the same place where I put them during the sync/subsequent tweaking. Then, all that's left is for you to copy/export this to the file you're writing in, or to write your story around the data you've imported!

 

Bottom line: It's possible if you really love Aeon and need to use it for your work. I've done very limited testing with this, but it has worked for me. YMMV.

 

 

Personally, I'd much rather have a pretty basic date/time flexible, multi-track timeline built into Storyist. I'm a huge, huge fan of having my story planning tools in the same software where I'm writing said story.

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Hi,

I would like to see Storyist do something new with a timeline feature instead of just integrating with Aeon TimeLine. I find Aeon just as complex as Scrivener. Storyist just seems to work more the way my mind works. Storyist already has the feature to attach all my elements to each other and is viewable in a collage and storyboard. I would love to have a simple timeline attachable to my collage as well as have its own view. I would like to set date and time of events and have color coded scenes/events along the timeline showing each storyline. (main, subplot, driving relationship, opposing relationship) I would like to be able to view the scenes with a small color coded dot highlighting an attached element like a characters arch point. Plot point happing in that scene. POV character for that scene.

Also perhaps a opaque scene for events that happened "off scene" either before the story opened (in the backstory, or prologue,)or in the characters past that has barring on present storyline.

Be able to separate out each POV character and look just at their individual scenes. But I would like all of this done in the "Storyist" way, not the Aeon way.(if that makes sense!)

Boy, I'm not asking for much am I? If any of this sounds unclear let me know and I'll try to explain better.

Thank you so much for having a ever improving software program.

 

Loretta Green

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I signed up for this forum after researching all available possibilities for using a timeline with writing software, even going as far as to see what is available in Google Charts API and Filemaker, etc... I have an iMac 5K and an iPad Pro and use the ipad most of the time. Scrivener does not have an iPad app. I have Ulysses on the Mac but they switched to a subscription model so I do not want all my work stuck in that ecosystem. I hate the expense of updating to newer versions of Final Draft. 

I need stand alone software that will sync between iPad and iMac and will allow me to write books and screenplays with a timeline function. So far, I have not encountered anything as incredible as Aeon Timeline. IMHO, if Scrivener makes an iPad app, many will move to it because of the Aeon Timeline integration. Storyist is so nice on the iPad, I have not downloaded it yet on the iMac.

I did notice that the Google Charts API has a timeline function and I think this will evolve rapidly into something that can become a Chrome Web App or extension for Google Docs. There is an opportunity here for Storyist to incorporate a timeline function prior to these events. I actually want something more complex, such as being able to hover over a date in my customized timeline and see a list somewhere of historical events on that day with a link to say - Wikipedia. Also, I do not like to use Dropbox for security reasons on my iMac. I prefer iCloud, Google Drive or Box. My idea is to have the ability to move along a timeline with unlimited, stackable sticky notes in customizable colors that are formatted for either book or screenplay with a drag and drop feature.

This is a great forum and I see there are like-minded indivials here with some great insight into the subject. I look forward to reading your posts.

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