Plotter or Pantzer?

I am loving Aeon Timeline, just loving it.  I can outline quickly and easily and then sync with Scrivener and Boom! I’m writing my next novel.

How about you?  Are you a PLOTTER or a PANTZER?  My routine use to be to hand write an outline and draw lines for how the characters would meet and mingle.  There would be loads of post-its and fluro highlighter.  I’d feel super proud of my creation and then I’d start writing the 1st paragraph and immediately I’d think of a change, a major change.  Like that scene where they first kiss (I’m a romance writer), should be swapped with that other scene, that actually I think I’ll cut altogether.

Plus I don’t think the hero should be called Hunter, he should now be called Brock.  Hmmm, there goes all my timeline planning and notes.  It’s really not that easy to make changes to a hard copy is it.

Do you ever come across this?  You create the outline and then change it, but because it’s all written on actual, physical paper you can’t just drag and drop a scene, or “Replace All” the instances of Hunter for Brock easily.

Yep, as a techie geek I began the search for a better way to be productive and not have to re-write these type of changes.  Plus who has ever create a mammoth excel spreadsheet for your plots?  They are great if you are keen on excel, but even these are a real hassle to make changes to, or to easily view where you are at with your plotting.

Then I found Aeon Timeline and I’ve never looked back.  Initially l was looking for a way to record my characters, locations and how they all fit on the story timeline(s).  Sometimes I have a couple of time lines in action across a few Arcs.  So when I found Aeon and it had all those elements, PLUS you could plot your story, PLUS you could relate anything to anything and Customise the calendars and filter options – WOW I was hooked and still am to this day.

What Is This Aeon Timeline You Speak Of?

For those who haven’t come across this product yet, Aeon Timeline is timeline software for creatives.  It was created by a writer for writers around 4 years ago with the 1st version for Mac.  Matt Tobin, the creator and developer, was so overwhelmed with the positive feedback from writers, the product has now evolved to include both Mac and Windows plus a recent IOS version — which all syncs together with Scrivener and Ulysses.

Essentially you can add events (aka Chapters and/or Scenes) and relate them together easily — then the really cool part is being able to group, sort and filter various views to slice and dice your story.  I find this really useful to look at the story idea from different angles and see if I can find anything that looks out of place.  I like to think of this as my 1st pass at self-editing.  Once I’m happy with my draft outline I will sync with a new Scrivener Project (which then creates all my chapters and scenes for me).  Next step start writing and keep writing.

Why Do I Like Aeon Timeline?

I don’t just like it, I really love it and use it for plotting my fiction and also for project managing my business website, marketing and planning future book launches (which I will use fully when I finally finish this series).

I’ve come from a corporate background where Microsoft Project was the one and only tool for project management software.  If you’ve used it you’ll know what I mean, but it’s expensive and it doesn’t really suit writing.

Yes, you can add each chapter/scene into the list of tasks and then drag and drop them to move them around.  It just doesn’t do the whole relationships part well, and where do you add the Character and Location info.  Oh, and did I mention it’s way expensive for most writers anyway.  A single licence is usually more than $900 and now it’s all in the cloud — which means a monthly fee.

With Aeon Timeline you have an app that was built just for writers — it fits our purpose and it’s currently only retailing for a one off price of AU$68.00.  You can even take it for a spin on a free 20 day trial to decide if you like it.

How I Plot With Aeon Timeline

As I mentioned earlier I’m a writer of romance and have been ‘dabbling’ in this craft for quite a few years on and off.  I’d love to make this my full time career, but I need to put food on the table and a roof over our heads until that day, so I work a day job which involves some travel.   During commutes on plane trips I usually find time for some writing.

I prefer the Mac versions of everything, but for my day job I use a windows laptop and am across most popular apps from both sides of the fence.

My methods are to plan and outline at home mostly on my MacBook Pro with Aeon Timeline 2.  I can be on the lounge, in bed or in my home office, as the mood takes me.  During a train commute to the office, I will add/create and update my timeline on my iPad.  I sync through iCloud with no hassles.

During work trips when I’m away overnight and I only have my work laptop, I’ll use the windows version of Aeon Timeline 2.  Again, syncing with iCloud so I’m always working in the same source of the file and not a copy.

[Yes, I did buy another licence for the windows version of Aeon Timeline, and it has been well worth it for the quick convenience of jotting down some notes, or thinking through an outline, or even a quick idea for my character].

What Else Can You Do With Aeon Timeline?

In addition to time lining, outlining or plotting (whichever term you prefer to use), it’s also a great tool for project management of small projects.  It does not have gantt charts or costings, or baselines, but for a writers life it’s perfect, you don’t need any of those.

I plan out my Blogging Editorial Calendar and Marketing plans for TechTools4Authors, and Book Launches (Ok, the 1st book is nearing an end later this year, and I like to be prepared).

I’m a planner and I like to know what tools I will be using and how to use them so I can then get on with the using of them quickly, easily and without effort when I need to.

In addition to Fiction and Project Management the creators website also shows the app can be used by legal practitioners for keeping the events in a case in order, and mapping witness statements and testimony.  For me, all I can think of is wouldn’t this make a great tool for plotting a murder mystery.

You Need Aeon Timeline In Your Life – Where To Buy

Now don’t forget you can also take this baby for a spin for a free 20 day trial before you buy, so if you haven’t used it before I’d suggest trying it out first.

Then when you are hooked you can purchase Aeon Timeline 2 for Mac and/or Windows direct from AeonTimeline.com and the iOS version from the App Store.  Each version is a separate licence and cost.

At the time of writing this review the Desktop versions are AU$68.00 and the iOS is AU$30.00.  A true bargain for all the benefits you get with these products.

How To Learn Aeon Timeline in 1 Weekend

Ok, depending on how you like to learn a new piece of software you may be cool to just get stuck in and figure it out.  Alternatively, Aeon Timeline have a few video tutorials and a manual, which you can access from within the Help menu.  Plus they also have a support forum where you can check out if others have the same question/issue.

If you would like all the hard work removed and save you heaps of time, you may prefer to follow my online course tailored for writers of fiction.  It’s packed full of video tutorials, workbooks, transcripts, a members only Facebook Group (where I hang out often) and loads of Bonus’s and Resources.  So pop on over to Learn Aeon Timeline and check out the full course contents and what you can learn in just 8 hours.

Imagine that – you have Aeon Timeline installed and then 8 hours of online tutorials and exercises and you have mastered Aeon Timeline and are plotting your next manuscript.

If you have any questions about Aeon Timeline or my Learn Aeon Timeline online course please drop me a message on the Contact page.

Happy Timelining and Happy Writing!

So what do you think?

I’d love to know if you use Aeon Timeline what you use it for and what you think of it.

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