Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Wendy's Story Timeline - Here it is!


 
 
 
 
 

First of all, let me explain. A while ago, I was writing a short story set in the present day with flashbacks to WW1. In the story, it was important to know in what year a character might feasibly have married, had a baby, become a grandmother etc. I got into such a muddle (I tried to marry off my lead character when she would have been only eight!) so decided to draw myself a time line to work from. This was time consuming, scrappy and only usable for one story.

When I looked online, I could find timelines but nothing specific to my needs.

These were the things I wanted:

  • My character's age to be automatically calculated against each year on the timeline..
  • A column to show major events logged against each year
  • A column where I could record events in my character's life
  • A timeline that could cover any century
  • A timeline that could be filled in for my story, saved and a new one started for the next

This was when I turned in desperation to my husband - who kindly dedicated an evening to creating the perfect timeline for writers. I want to share this resource with other writers and would just ask that you leave a comment or give me a mention if you use it or share it.

To go to Wendy's Story Timeline Click here. You will then need to click file and download to use it. It should be straightforward to use - after all it was made for me and I'm pretty useless at technology! I have filled in kings and queens and some major events but you can fill in events of your choice.

Below are simple instructions for how to use it. (Note: The timeline will show from 1961 but you can open up the timeline to increase the range of years.)

If you have any problems or questions about using this timeline, please let me know and I will try and help.

60 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Wendy. I've downloaded it and look forward to using it in plotting my novel. I have recently been in muddles similar to the one you describe in your post.

    Thanks also to your husband for clever adaptation of the spreadsheet.

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    1. If it only helps one other person, it will have been worthwhile. If you find it useful, do let me know. I will certainly pass your thanks on to my husband.

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  2. What a great resource! Would it be OK to put up a link on my blog?

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    1. Yes of course, Patsy. That would be fine.

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  3. Hi Wendy,
    this is brilliant! So helpful. Like Patsy I'd like to share this on my blog too, if that's okay - and tell the students about it too??
    Thanks so much - and a big thanks to your hubby :)

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    1. Thank you Marianne. Please do share it - I hope your students find it useful. I will pass on your thanks.

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  4. That is brilliant, Wendy! Thank you for sharing :-) x

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  5. Thank you, Wendy (and Mr Wendy, of course), this is great.

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  6. Sounds a fantastic tool, Wendy - I'll download and try it out very soon! Please thank your clever husband.

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    1. Will do, Rosemary - hope it doesn't go to his head!

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  7. That's really useful Wendy, thank you. All I have to do now is get writing.

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  8. Starting is always the hardest - I am a terrible procrastinator

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  9. This is brilliant, Wendy. Thanks for sharing. Isn't your hubby clever?

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  10. This wonderful. Thank you so much, both you and your husband.

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  11. Thank you for sharing this Wendy. I've got in muddles with dates before so I know this will be useful. Thanks to your clever husband too.

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    1. Thanks Kate. Glad I'm not the only one who gets in a muddle!

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  12. Brilliant resource. Thanks Wendy and to your husband too of course.

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    1. You're welcome, Vee. I will pass on your thanks to my husband.

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  13. Bravo Wendy's husband ! Thank you Wendy for sharing, I've had the same problem, marrying people off too young or having babies when they are too old. This is absolutely perfect

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  14. Dear Wendy
    A note to thank you for this download! It looks as if it might just save me from many a future tussle with calendars and calculators. And I'll be sure to mention its origins whenever I pass it on...
    Best wishes,
    Penny Alexander

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    1. You're very welcome. Penny. I hope it proves useful.

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  15. This is amazing. What a generous soul you are!

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  16. It seemed too good not to share, Julia!

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  17. Thank you for this Wendy. I've never written a timeslip story kind of thing but I'm always getting muddled over dates! Sure this will come in very useful.

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  18. Wow, so simple yet so brilliant. Your husband is a genius. Thank you for sharing.

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  19. Thank you, Wendy. I have just downloaded this and will save it for when I write my next time-slip story! My husband will also be very interested / amused - he is also an Excel whiz as well as a bit of a history whiz - and when I wrote The Secret Lake (my children's time-slip mystery adventure) I got my dates all in a pickle and it was only when he was on the sun-lounger on our holiday in Turkey and was reading the proof copy that he said 'That would place the time period at the start of WW1' - when I had it the story set five years earlier!' So when we got home I had to hurriedly rework a section and upload another version! Thank goodness for print on demand!! There were also other complexities in the plot that had me trying to map out the ages and it took forever - so this looks as if it will be very useful if I pen another time-slip story. Thank you so much for sharing and please pass on thanks to your husband.

    As/when/if I use it in the future I will post a blog note and mention/link to you! Have a great Christmas!

    Karen

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    1. It gives us great pleasure to think it will be useful to others. Have a great Christmas, Karen.

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  20. Now why didnt I think of that? what a simple but effective tool.Thank you Wendy's husband I can now resurrect all those tangled half written stories and finish them at last.

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    1. Glad to be of help with the untangling!

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  21. Just found this, Wendy. Thank you. It's great. Like you, I nearly drove myself mad last year sorting out characters' ages and when everything happened. Excellent tool!

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  22. I hope you find it useful, Rosemary.

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  23. I saw your letter in the Writing Magazine and immediately checked it out. This is a great tool. Thank your for sharing.

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    1. It's my pleasure, Jojo - thanks for popping over to my blog.

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  24. Thank you so much Wendy! I found you via your letter in Writing Magazine (April 2013), and your kindness in sharing your amazing resource is lovely - thank you. I'm rubbish at Maths and spend ages (and I do mean ages!)trying to work out what year a character was born vs how old they'll be in the Narrative Now, getting in a right muddle working backwards! I'm working on the beginning narrative of my second novel, where part is set now (when the daughter character is in her early 20s) and part is set when the mother character is about the same age - so your timeline has already shown me that my mother character will be in Paris in the 1990s not the 1980s, as I was thinking! Er, time to adjust my planning and research... On a serious note, thank you to your husband, too, for coming up with this - and thanks again for sharing! You're welcome to pop by my blog, the Pen Pot, and see how I'm doing - I shall follow yours now too. Good luck with your writing and all the best, Deb x

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    1. Hi Deb. I am so pleased that the timeline will be a help with your novel - I shall read it when you get it published! Thank you for folloing my blog and I shall pop over to ywours very soon. So glad we could help.

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  25. I too saw this in Writing Magazine and have found the simple logic brilliant. It's helped me consolidate a lot of things I can't even begin to describe. Great blog too. Thanks!

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  26. What a wonderful spreadsheet and so helpful! Clever husband and generous Wendy for sharing this. Thank you

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    1. It has certainly got me out of some sticky writing situations, Sally. Glad you like it!

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  27. Saw your note about this in Writing Magazine, and appear to have downloaded successfuly. Now off to try it out!

    A big thank you to you and hubby.
    PS Love your bad dog!

    Jen Black

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    1. Glad it downloaded successfully, Jen. As for the bad dog -I'm just off to walk her!

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  28. Hi wendy. Found your blog via Janis Lane's. This is a very useful resource. Thank you for sharing it. Started entering my characters. Putting in the date of death for one (whose death I have not yet written in my WIP) felt odd, particularly when I saw the little RIPs in the poor blokes column. Very useful to see the comparative ages of my characters at a glance as my story takes place over nearly forty years. Will be using this a lot. Thanks to you and hubby for sorting and sharing this.

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    1. Hi Dan. Really glad that you are finding this resource useful. We thought teh RIP's were amusing too!

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  29. Came across your site when I did a search for timelines for writers. Thanks so much for this. Will be using it for my WIP. :)

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    1. You are very welcome. Diane - I hope it comes in handy.

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  30. Thank you for this, Wendy. I'm always tying my brain in knots trying to work out what would have been happening to my character at any particular age - especially as a lot of my stories are set in the past.

    Have only just discovered your blog via a member of my writers' group and it looks absolutely brilliant.

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    1. I hope you find it useful, Kath, and thanks for becoming a follower - I'm glad you like my blog.

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  31. Thanks so so much. And thanks to hubby too. He just saved mine some time.

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    1. Glad to be of help. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

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  32. I realize it is years after you posted and shared this - but I am having trouble downloading it. It says 'locked for editing' and won't let me open it. Is there any way I can get a blank timeline? I think it is genius and I would love to use it as I research for my story. thank you!

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    1. P.S. my email to contact me directly is jmanwarren@gmail.com

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