Timelines: Who, what and above all, when!


Welcome to the next stop on our tour of my authorial wiki (public version). Today, I want to talk about timelines and finding out when particular events happened.

Cover of Eclipse displayed on a tablet, resting on a pine bough, surrounded by wood five-pointed stars.
Eclipse is, of course, my book which is particularly anchored to a specific time and region.

One of the reasons I like WorldAnvil (the software I use for the public wiki) is the chance to create maps and timelines. With books ranging across the 1920s, a few Edwardian titles, and a couple during or just after the Great War, being able to put the books in order is key. I’ve currently got five different ways to get timeline information, read on to learn more about them!

Albion – the main timeline

The Albion timeline is the first place to start if you want the chronological sequence of titles in a visual format, with links to the books and main characters in one tidy place.

It lists each book, in chronological order by when the book began. It also includes a few key historical events (the Pact, the Great War).

Each entry has:

  • The book cover (for an easy visual reference)
  • Text and image links to the major characters.
  • The main location
  • Links to additional timelines. (Mostly the “Books and extras” timeline.)

Note that I haven’t broken out the epilogues here, just to keep the number of entries more manageable.

Books and extras timeline

Last week, I talked about the extras I’ve shared with my newsletter readers. Those often have scenes that take places at other points in the timeline, and I thought it would be helpful to see where those take place.

What if you want to know where those scenes fit in? That’s where the Books and Extras timeline comes in. Each of the scenes from the extras is there. (If there are multiple scenes in a short time frame, they’re grouped together.)

Again, you can get information on the extra (it will take you to the page with more information), the characters, or the location.

Character events timeline

Sometimes you just want to know when someone was born, or when they got married, or who might have been at Schola around the same time. (Just me on that one? Read on for how I handle that.)

The Character Events timeline is here for that. It includes birthdates for characters, a few marriages, and the dates various of the Council Members challenged for the Council. Dates are only on here if I’ve pinned down an actual date and mentioned it or strongly implied it in text.

(For example, I know when a number of characters got married, roughly, but I haven’t always decided on the actual date yet, just a period of a couple of months.)

Character’s years of birth are also on their individual pages.

Text version

Want something simple? Here’s a text timeline of the books (noting epilogue dates as relevant.)

Publication order

Finally, I know some people prefer to read in publication order. If that’s you, that list has you covered, and includes the extras as they were released.

Also good to know

Obviously, these timelines require a certain amount of upkeep. The front page of the wiki site will always have the most recent update (i.e. what the most recent book or extra I’ve added) and when that was.

Additional timelines I keep

I of course have some more detailed timelines. I use an app called Aeon Timeline, that lets me link information in various ways, and also will tell me (if I have a person set up with a date or year of birth), how old they were during various events. This is, needless to say, tremendously helpful.

I – like a number of authors – spend a fair amount of time doing authorial math.

The most recent iteration of this, last night, was figuring out how old Silvia Warren actually was, which involved the following word problem: “If Claudio is in his third year (so around 15) in 1924-1925, and Silvia married and had him quite young, how old is she in a) 1932, b) 1941, and c) 1948?”

(If by this you guess I am contemplating writing something involving her more heavily, you’d be right. It won’t be for a bit, I have to write several other things to work out some details of what’s going into that.)

I track all sorts of other things:

  • Individuals (for birthdays, how old they are compared to other people)
  • Character events (marriages, deaths, key events in their lives)
  • Education (when they were in school or apprenticing so I can see how that overlaps with others)
  • Clubs and society events
  • Council seat challenges (and other related dates)
  • And of course, when the books and extras take place.

They are all colour-coded and interlinked in the app, so I can make all those connections easier. I don’t want to make the wiki timelines too overwhelming, but if there’s information that would be helpful to you, just let me know!

By Celia

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