Using one Timeline item in more than one place in the Narrative view

Is there a way to do this? If not, any ideas on a workaround?

An example: I’m Akira Kurosawa hashing out Rashomon. The samurai dies only once, so that event is a single item in the timeline. But in my movie, I show 4 different people giving 4 different versions of his murder, so (ideally) the same event would show up 4 times in the narrative.


No this is not currently possible. Your problem is similar to one that I have encountered in the novel I am writing, where a character has a recurring dream surrounding an event that happened in the past. Ideally, I wanted to show that event in a flashback scene multiple times.

I got around it by creating a scene item for each dream, but in each one I used the relationship Relates To to link back to the backstory event which is the basis of said dream.

For each character’s viewpoint of your event you could do something similar.

I was on the verge of adding a feature request on the website when I saw your post here. I think it would be a great feature to be able to ‘reuse’ events in the narrative.

Hope that helps.

But couldn’t this get confusing? Right now, a narrative item is the same as the item on the timeline. If I change, say, the time of one instance it’s changed in the other as well. This also means I have a document for this item in my synced writing app. If I make a change in this original event (like the time of the killing of the samurai) will it be changed in the other, now multiple, instances as well? How could I add data then that is not identical, like the point of view?
I would approach this differently: There is a certain event on the timeline: the samurai gets killed. And then there’s different narrative items regarding that event: A watches the samurai getting killed, B watches the samurai getting killed, C kills the samurai etc.

1 Like

Which is exactly the workaround I suggested and currently use.

I agree that if times etc were adjusted in multiple narrative items it would lead to confusion. But that isn’t what I would need. The relationship for me would be one to many. So one timeline event with the potential to show it more than once in the narrative view. If an event is to be shown in a narrative in a novel multiple times then that seems like a reasonable way of going about things. I imagine a writer like Christopher Nolan would appreciate the ability (if he used AT3).

But of course, you are right, the approach would need to be carefully considered. And there is a workaround. So I guess the feature request would go nowhere on that basis.

1 Like

The way I tackled this was to have the actual event on the timeline, and then add sub-events to it in the spreadsheet. The sub-events can be used in Narrative view.

One event, multiple narratives that refer to it.


Not only in the Narrative, but in the timeline also… Most Items, not only Events, would benefit from i.e. having multiple parents without the need of making duplicates of the item or only using the relation function.
Yes, I do know that this is a little different than what you talk about, but it is somehow similar…

i.e. some people items might “belong” in multiple “groups”.

Or some Events might “belong” or sort under multiple “Main Event”…

Most times it is possible to just create some relations, but other times it might be good to show the items under the different “Parent Items” that they “belong to”.

An example from one of my own “research” projects.
I have a voyage for a ship, and for that voyage I have an “Last Port of Call” this has dates and the ship and some other information linked to it, with a Location of say “Port of Providence”, it also include citation (a link to the source item) and some specified properties.

I also have a “Collection” called “Arrived at Port of Providence in the period of x to y” where I want to add all the vessels I have in my research that arrived at there in that period (this item can hold a lot of ships for a month of even a quarter of a year, but is a good way to find ships in that port at that time.
I have multiple of those “Collections” for different time periods and different ports, I also have some for “First Port of Call” (Departure) or “At Anchor at {location}”.

As it is now, I either need to make duplicate items if I want to visualize this in the timeline view, or I need to only use relations without any form of visualization of where they actually “belong”.
If I want any visualization of the relations/links, I need to add Dependencies and/or Constraints, just to have some visual way of relate the different objects (items) in the timeline…

Duplicate items in an historical aspect is not a good solution when it comes to presenting or share data, some might think that it actually is 2 different objects/events/items… and to start writing “Duplicate x of Item y” just clutter the timeline even more…

Yes, I know it might be that I use the software on the border of what it is intended for, but I really like Aeon in general, the different views etc.

PS. I am not a writer, not even in the widest understanding of the “term”, if you not think of a writer as one that can manage to use multiple words to create a sentence… :rofl:

i.e. some people items might “belong” in multiple “groups”.

Yes, my thoughts too. (I concluded that Character Groups were necessary because of the clunky filtering system [once you have more than ten items]).

Or some Events might “belong” or sort under multiple “Main Event”…

At that point the abstraction starts to become a graph – not that a timeline isn’t a graph, just a more constrained one. Perhaps this sort of thing could be developed in the Mindmap, in the future.

You might also be able to do this by adding a property, and viewing such events in Grouped By. Not ideal, though, because the Group By functionality has been so reduced.

Thanks for the workaround ideas. They will work for my purposes, for now, though not ideally. I haven’t yet reached the point of syncing with my writing app, but I’ll cross that bridge etc.

For me, the genius of this software is the way it translates text into visualization; the workarounds don’t do that as elegantly as I’d like. But they do it, so I repeat my thanks.

In my imagination, the solution would be something like Macs’ “aliases,” which sit in your Finder looking like files but are really just placeholders linked to a target file in a different location. Multiple narrative items would all look like the chronological item (but not exactly like: maybe greyed out). They would ideally show the originals’ metadata, and selecting them would highlight the chronological item.

I have to also note that I picked Rashomon almost at random. But it’s very funny that Kurosawa was dealing with this exact problem–the fraught relationship between facts and stories about them.

Yes, I can get this in a network graph software like Cytoscape, Gephi or Constellation, but only Constellation have a form of a timeline view, and that is actually mostly for time series, so I haven’t found a really good way to use it yet.

I can also get this with Obsidian’s graph view, but again… no timeline…
I can also draw it in Graphviz, but needs some workarounds to get timelines and network graphs.
Plotly and Dash can do this with dashboard widgets, but I am not a Python developer…

To get around this in Aeon now, I need to create extra items to be able to also record the time periods that the items was related to the different “Parent Items”
and create multiple Versions of this “middle item”.

Another “Graph Feature” that would be great was Date Period on Relations… yep, I am day dreaming a little…

And Yes, a timeline is a graph…