Development Blog

A Map of Time

I am late to the party, but I recently stumbled across this excellent book, “Writing: A User Manual” by David Hewson. This is the most practically useful writing advice book I have come across. I was pleased to see many pages and screenshots dedicated to Scrivener, and I expect to return to it often to re-read little snippets of half-remembered advice.

But it was Hewson’s comments on time that caught my intention for this blog. In introducing the subject, Hewson says:

“When it comes to fiction, and series fiction in particular, time stinks. It’s a blight on us all, a nasty chunk of so-called reality that tries to poke its ugly head in where it’s not wanted.”

He goes on to write:

“Yet writers still agonize over time. They nag people who make writing software to include some kind of timeline feature so they can map out the chronology of their story to the last second. They – you may wish to look away here – plan their tales in sad columns in Excel spreadsheets as if they were lines on a P&L statement (and may the Lord have mercy on their souls).”

While I agree with his comments about Excel, as the person who wrote a timeline tool in response to that nagging, I will defend my wonderful nagging users at every opportunity. The many valid arguments Hewson makes when advocating specialist writing software like Scrivener over Word exist ten-fold when the alternative is forcing a business spreadsheet program into a pseudo-timeline tool.

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Housekeeping, House-moving

It has been some time since I posted a blog announcement, so this post completes a housekeeping task that has been building up for a while, documenting a few links and updates that have taken place over the last six months.

In addition, if you have noticed a slowdown in technical support over the last month, it is because I have been moving house with all the accompanied packing, cleaning, buying and selling that entails. The good news is the move is now behind me, support is slowly catching up, and most importantly, following this move, I will be reducing my full-time working hours elsewhere so that  I can spend more time developing Aeon Timeline.

Right then, onto the housekeeping…

Windows Version Released

As will be obvious to anyone visiting the website, the Windows version was released in October last year in time for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2013.

Thank you to everyone who provided suggestions and advice about technology choices etc. in the early stages of the process. As will become apparent, I opted for a Desktop version of the application first, as this could match the Mac version more closely.

I will follow up on some earlier developer-oriented posts about porting the application from Mac to Windows some time soon. If I get time, I hope to release some of the source code I wrote to achieve certain tasks (such as Document and Undo Management) that come pre-built in the Mac Cocoa libraries, in the vain hope it will assist others making the same transition in future.

Aeon Timeline Press

In March, Aeon Timeline was featured in a blog post written by Elizabeth Haynes for the NaNoWriMo website. You can read the blog post here:

http://blog.nanowrimo.org/post/80072339581/completing-your-writing-toolkit-with-aeon-timeline

Back in October of last year, I joined Ben and Mary Ellen from the Reader/Writer podcast to discuss Aeon Timeline, and joined in their regular segments discussing books and television. You can listen to that particular episode at the link below, or subscribe to the Reader/Writer podcast via iTunes and the usual channels.

http://readerwriter.ca/readerwriter/2013/10/31/aeon-timeline

NaNoWriMo Author Chats

As part of Aeon Timeline’s sponsorship of NaNoWriMo last year, I conducted a series of author chats with writers using Aeon Timeline to assist their NaNoWriMo writing or preparation. Originally, these were only linked to from our dedicated NaNoWriMo page, but I am making them available for everyone to read via the links below.

In keeping with the NaNoWriMo spirit, our interviews were open to published writers, enthusiastic amateurs, and even some first time users of Aeon Timeline.

  • 18 October: Elizabeth Haynes: NaNoWriMo participant since 2005. Elizabeth talks about converting her NaNoWriMo beginnings into a successful writing career.
  • 20 October: Amelia Lynn: NaNoWriMo participant since 2011. Amelia is an aspiring author who talks about the many tools she uses to successfully complete NaNoWriMo.
  • 23 October: Badrat: NaNoWriMo participant since 2005. Part discussion, part pep-talk, Badrat talks about establishing writing routines that can last well beyond NaNoWriMo.
  • 23 October: Jonathan Rudderham: NaNoWriMo participant since 2007. Jonathan is writing not only a series of books, but a series of books involving time travel.
  • 27 October: Michael Mountain: NaNoWriMo participant since 2007. Michael is a new user who talks about what he hopes Aeon Timeline will provide. We will check back with him after NaNoWriMo.
  • 2 November: Shannon McChesney: NaNoWriMo participant since 2010. Shannon is hoping Aeon Timeline will be the difference in helping her reach 50,000 words for the first time.
  • 2 November: Joe Casadonte: Joe has never participated in NaNoWriMo, but talks about how Aeon Timeline helped him with his writing over the past year.
  • 10 November: Jenna Winters: NaNoWriMo participant since 2007. Jenna is aiming to write 100,000 words this year!
  • 10 November: Ashland Pym: NaNoWriMo participant since 2009. Ashland studies and writes about Mythology, if she can find the time in November for both.

Next Major Update

With the Mac and Windows version completed, and with a large number of excellent user suggestions piling up on my to-do list, I have started work on the next major version of Aeon Timeline. Aside from incorporating a lot of users suggestions, this next update will aim to give the user more control, and make it more flexible and customisable for a wide variety of contexts.

In case anyone is interested in assisting, some time in the next month or so I will be looking for User Interface/User Experience designers to help with the redesign.

It is a little too early to talk about specific features, and definitely to early to talk about release dates, but it is an exciting time to be working on the project.

The Mac and Windows versions will be developed simultaneously so that they can be released together.

 

SUMMERFEST 2013: Discounts on Great Writing Tools

To coincide with our release of version 1.1 (see post below), Aeon Timeline has teamed up with the developers of some great writing applications to provide discounts on some of the best writing tools on the market (from now until June 14).

This is not a software bundle where you pay your money to a third-party to bundle together 9 apps with the 1 application you want. Each application can be bought individually at a discounted price directly from the developer.

Each participating applications – Scrivener, Scapple, Tinderbox, Movie Draft, Nisus Writer Pro, and Bookends – is crafted by dedicated small or independent development teams who care about the quality of the final product.

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