What Aeon Timeline could be

I’m afraid I don’t much. I only ever use it to problem solve or allow me to track a detailed timeline on the very few occasions I need to to that.

I was never productive with Scrivener.
I don’t like too much noise when I’m writing (reviewing and editing are different). I have two routes - writing in Writage/Word/Atlantis/Typora, absorbing data from markdown files etc as necessary or writing in WriteMonkey3/Inspire Writer/Obsidian. All in a focus mode. Difference between the two is whether I need to write in paragraphs, or whether I can write in markdown lines and only convert to paragraphs at the end.

Factual stuff tends to be Tangent Notes/Word/Atlantis. Though I’m considering Hepta where there’s a lot of use of external material.

I have planned extensively in the past, but that’s always caused a creative tension. One of my first observations about Plottr was that it would be particularly useful to analyse an existing first draft.

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Cool. It never ceases to amaze me how many paths writers take.

This is something similar to place Events in historical research…
You know that something happened before and after, but it is not always you know everything in between, but as you research goes on, you find more and more historical events that needs to be placed in between other events…

And then you find an item or some people that occur in multiple events, e.g., ships and sailors that change ships they sail on, ports visited etc.

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I think it’s something that can apply in all areas of research and investigation.

Ideas will usually start by being related to something. If that something is from working with a whiteboard, I will add it as a textbox (Canvas - card) on that board.
If I don’t know where it came from or it’s more substantial, I will make it a note with wikilinks. Ditto for anything factual. And then I will add that note to any whiteboard where they might fit.

Some research is linear, of course, but much isn’t.

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Yes, that is true, at least in most historical research/investigation (research with some kind of chronologic approach) you will start somewhere without knowing what you will find, and I think that will be true for many writers to, they start their history and then figure out that they need something that explain why something happened or why a person occurs somewhere in their story etc.

what I miss in AT 3 is a way to visually show relationships between events and/or objects in the timeline that are not dependencies/constraints.

I may have dozens of events or objects in the timeline that are related in some way and that I would like to have a visual line that I could have followed…

This is easy when using markdown and wikilinks in Foam for VSC or Obsidian, or when using network graph software and is an extremely good tool for finding “hidden” relationships between events, people and other objects.

Have you ever thought of expressing these relationships using arcs?

I have tried, but not sure how I can add one or ten Event to 8-10 different “parents” in a visual way, it’s not that they belong to a story or an event, but they can have some kind of relation…

It’s not a problem in Aeon to link using relations, but it is not visual and it is not easy to see all the links in a table or list view when you hav 15-25000 (or more) events, people and other objects in a project.

Only way to add an item in Aeon to multiple “parents” is to make copies…

So e.g., if you want a ship to be a sub-item in an event on your timeline and at the same time be an owned object under a company as a child object, only way to do that is to create duplicate object for the ship.

EDIT: An example (I keep to ships this time):
The ship is owned by a Norwegian company, so I want it as a sub-item in the Company’s hierarchy to easily see all the ships I have registered on that company.

But I also want to have the ship as an sub-item of an event called journey, so that I can register the ships movement and add seamen to the ship for that journey.
If I only add a relation between the Ship and the Event, and then add relations between the Seamen and the Event, I will have no relation between the ship and the seamen.
So, I have no way to find out what ship a seaman was sailing on at a given time… It actually just become an extreme mess.

Therefore, I need to be able to add an Item in AT as sub-items to multiple other Items in the database, both to timeline items and to left sidepanel hierarchical “collection items”.

It is very seldom that my “parent collection items” also are a “parent timeline item”, but a “parent timeline item” can very often be a sub-item of a “collection”.
e.g., a ship is a sub-item of the shipping line and/or owner of the ship, it is also a sub-item of multiple journey events, and the ship as a sub-item to the journey event can have multiple sub-items linked to it, like ship documents, manifests etc. for the journey, and of course the seamen onboard should be linked with a relation to the correct sub-item (like a crew list or a manifest) …
If I only create relations between the ship as a sub-item of the “collection” and the journey event, and then start to add relations for seamen to the journey or create relations between the documents and seamen (the documents are of course sources so it should be registered as that in addition as sub-items of a repository), I have no visual way to see the relations between different sub-items regardless of if they are “collection sub-items” or “timeline sub-items”…
And if I just start to add ALL the seamen with a relation to the ship as a sub-item in a collection, I will not have any date/period definitions of when they actually sailed on that ship.

I actually use Foam and Obsidian or Cytoscape to find those relations, but it would be nice to be able to combine a “real” timeline with a network graph.

I’m surprised Plottr is so popular compared to Timeline, but I do seem to see more of the Plottr guys on podcasts/YouTube etc. I think Aeon would do well to get on shows like Mark Dawson’s. Or maybe they have, and I’ve just missed it?

I’ve dabbled with Timeline when it was version 1. And until recently, I’ve been using Plottr which is very easy to use. But in the end, I found myself coming up against limitations. I’m also not fond of how it looks. I know that shouldn’t matter, but when I spend a lot of time in an app, I want it to look well designed.

So I wondered if Aeon Timeline was still going. Turns out it was, and it’s up to version 3. Also, I actually don’t think it’s that difficult to use. There’s a bigger learning curve compared to Plottr, but not by much. And once things clicked (about two days into the free trial, so probably three or four hours at most), the extra power and flexibilty is really noticeable. It also looks a lot nicer than Plottr!!

So Plottr is ditched and I’m on board with Aeon Timeline. In future, it would be nice if more people saw its many benefits over Plottr.


I don’t understand why Timeline isn’t advertised as well as Plotter, when it’s far superior. I also don’t get it why timeline isn’t pusing itself to places like Nanowrimo, Reddit etc.

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Plottr pretty much is what it is, and it has some specialization that isn’t always needed.

Aeon has a lot of knobs to twist, particularly if you want to define your own relationships. That makes it useful over a broader range. The cost of learning how to use it is worth it, at least to me.

In fact, most of my use for Aeon has been keeping history of projects and communications. I need to remedy that. I’ve got a story I want to tell. I think this time I’ll start the planning in Aeon.

I think there’s a strong argument for using support applications. For instance, the summary field is not a good place to expand on the details of an event. It’s not a big deal, though. Devonthink supports x-url links, so it’s easy to maintain a library of notes there, linked from events in Aeon.

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