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How do you make a Timeline?


I'm trying to create a timeline for my novel for reference because i don't want to overlap events that don't make sense in that kind of context.

Any suggestions on diagrams and putting the dates in place?
I know there's a lot of preferred programs and diagrams, but if it is just for your personal reference, a Word document or Excel spreadsheet can accomplish everything you need it to.

Otherwise, I appreciate OneNote's "add more white space" feature and the ability to move chunks of text around in boxes.
Keep in mind what kind of events you're tracking, and how their nature might affect what's worth tracking about them. If it's history, you have a lot of things happening in parallel, branching into each other: these things happen in this kingdom, meanwhile this happens over there but some of it affects the other. If it's the plotline of one character, things are more a single line, but you may want to mark recurring themes on it (here and here are when he questions his allegiance, here are the different mentors that you're contrasting...)


Well are some of the events more along the lines of back story? If not then use the story arc as a timeline. First act takes place at this time, second act goes from now to that far off date and the climax is then and the resolution is later. Or you could get a moon chart and use that. I tried it with a werewolf story, worked wonderfully.


a good way would be to make a timeline chart in microsoft excel :D its pretty easy and makes everything seem more simple to understand.


I use excel for my timeline.

Across the top I have two rows. In the topmost I have information on the season, month name, and week number so I also have a reference to the passing of time. The second row has the day and date.

On the left I have a column for the POVs name. Events are entered alongside under the relevant date. I use differen colours to show who is grouped up with who and when. The colours change as each character moes in or out of the main roup.

I find it usefeul to keep the dates day by day ratherf than miss out days then I can see where there are gaps in the timeline. I have the weeks in tables a gap and the next week below. Always work below then you can add the timeline for the next book to the right.

At the moment I Am on my kindle. When I get home tonight I'll try to post you an example of how mine works if you like.


I'm a little old-fashioned when it comes to that stuff. I prefer to do everything by hand.
If the history you wish to consolidate into a timeline is complex, I would suggest splitting your events into categories, such as Royal, Military, Scientific Discovery etc. Draw up several lines for there categories above one main line which counts your years. Y basta!


New Member
Story Boarding still works. If you have a complicated story line, it's nice to have visuals of where you are and where you are going. My office has pictures and timelines taped all over the place to inspire and remind me what world I am in...