Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Wendy's Story Timeline - Version 2 with Date of Birth Calculator


*NEW VERSION*

For those of you not already familiar with Wendy's Story Timeline, let me explain (everyone else can skip this part!) 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.

To go to Wendy's Story Timeline Click here. 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.

So what's new? Whilst using the timeline for one of my stories, I knew that I wanted my character to be age 18 at the beginning of WW1 (1914) but unless I used my fingers (I'm not too good at mental arithmetic) I had no idea in which year she would have been born in order to place her on my time line. 'I'll sort it,' said my husband and he set aside a Sunday to solve the problem for me (and you).

The new timeline now has an Date of Birth Calculator. See below for how to use it.


Once you have your character's date of birth, just add it to the timeline and - hey presto - you now have all the information you need.

What else is new? Well, this isn't a new feature, you just might not have realised you could use Wendy's Timeline for this purpose. Instead of putting in your character's date of birth, you can put in a life event such as marriage or date of ascension to the throne. The timeline will then calculate the number of years married or on the throne. This is a good way of finding out anniversary dates for your characters. See below for an example.

If Wendy's Story Timeline is new to you, below are simple instructions for how to use it.




If you have any problems or questions about using this timeline, please let me know and I will try and help. It is free to download, but could I just ask that if you do, please leave a comment and if you share on your blog please credit this blog or provide a link to it. Many thanks.

This timeline is absolutely FREE but if you feel you'd like to make a contribution to the hard work that's gone into it, there are a couple of rather lovely story collections on the sidebar that you might like to put on your kindle for the price of a cup of coffee. 

Happy planning!

The Timeline is now version 3. This has a slight change to make it easier to select a range of years to view. It also has more character columns.

To download Wendy's Story Timeline V3, Click here.

85 comments:

  1. Brilliant, Wendy! I love this. It really is such a useful tool for a writer. Thanks for sharing it – and thanks to your hubby too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marianne. I hope your students find it useful - I wished I'd had it when I first started writing stories!

      Delete
  2. That sounds like a good idea. It's easy to get in a muddle over these things, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never have enough fingers and toes to work it all out, Patsy. It's very simple to use.

      Delete
  3. What an inventive husband, Wendy - please do thank him on our behalf!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Excellent Wendy...and Mr Wendy of course ;)

    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's certainly got everything I need now, Vikki

      Delete
  5. So very generous of you to share this with us all.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's great Wendy, thanks for sharing, and well done on all your recent published stories.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is so clever, Wendy - thank you for sharing :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. How brilliant, Wendy. Thank you husband. I will download it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow! This is amazing. How very clever and ingenious of you (and hubby). I am so jealous. I am severely challenged in the math and computer techno areas. I can't even create an Excel spreadsheet. I did, however, finally mange the learning curve for Scrivener and it was absolutely worth it. I don't know how I ever lived without it. I am always writing myself into timeline corners. I haven't married off an eight year old, just yet, but some of the blunders are horrific. I am eager to try your very detailed timeline. I hope it's not too difficult to master. To borrow a phrase from The bookshelf muse (which is where I stumbled across your blog), "Holy Buckets!" Your timeline rocks.


    I am a new follower. I have actually been on a very long blogging and Internet hiatus and am just now finding some time to visit blogs. I still haven't committed to writing blog post, again. Not yet. I'm too close with my manuscript and I have to stay focused. Anyway, I do hope you will stop by and visit and hopefully not run screaming when you see how long it's been since I last posted. I am very close to blogging again. I will definitely visit your blog often. It has been my favorite recent find.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melissa. How kind of you to say I am your favourite recent find... that made my day! You will find the timeline really easy to use (after all it had to be as it was made for me and my husband knows what a dunce I am when it comes to things like this). Good luck with the manuscript and I will pop over and visit your blog soon.

      Delete
  10. What a great idea. Thank you. I shall share your blog link with other writers who I know will find it useful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How lovely of you to pop over, Rosemary. Yes, please feel free to share link with other writers.

      Delete
  11. What a great idea. Thank you. I shall share your blog link with other writers who I know will find it useful.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a great idea. Thank you. I shall share your blog link with other writers who I know will find it useful.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks, Wendy, from another Wendy...

    This is great for me as I always get a pickled brain writing my novels. They're family history inspired and call for past events connecting to the present so your time-line will be a brilliant help to me! (And cut down on all those the headache tablets...)
    I'll share your post too so other writers can find it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you will find it super useful for family history novels, Wendy - if you have any problems using it do let me know.

      Delete
  14. That's going to be so helpful, especially with my current work in progress- thank you so much, Wendy.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks, Wendy. I've often thought I ought to create a spreadsheet to help me organise my timelines and now you and your husband have saved me the effort!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now you can find time for more important things like writing, Tora.

      Delete
  16. Very useful, Wendy. Thank you. I'm working on a novel about the lives of several generations of people in a French village, so this will be invaluable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love the sound of your novel, Maggie. Hope the time-line is useful.

      Delete
  17. This is fantastic, Wendy. Thank you to you and your husband for such a brilliant tool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our pleasure, Georgina. Hope it's useful.

      Delete
  18. Thanks Wendy, this is utterly brilliant. I've wanted something like this for ages. Clever husband you have xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very happy to be sharing it with you, Della, and yes, he is a very clever husband!

      Delete
  19. I can't even begin to find the words to express my appreciation. My first novel was a historical fiction that spanned generations and this would have saved me tears. The series I am working on now (only 30,000 words in) will be greatly assisted by this program. You absolutely must give your husband hugs have have him hug you back! I will thank Vicki too for posting on her site. I feel as if I just went panning for gold and scored!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were thrilled with your comment. Thank you so much and glad we could help.

      Delete
  20. Thank you, (and your hubby), so much for this, Wendy.

    I realise I'm probably being dense by asking this but is it possible to utilise the timeline to show timescales within a year or two and, if so, how would I do it, please?

    Also, just to prove I'm a total dipstick at times, I added the age of my protagonist, (based on myself), into a particular year on the timeline and it wasn't until the year of birth had been calculated that I recognised it as the year I was born! DOH!

    ReplyDelete
  21. That made me laugh, Barbara! Now I'm being dense - could give me an example of what you want to do with the timeline, then I can check with hubby and get back to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not at all, Wendy. Its probably my lack of communication skills. If the story takes place over just a couple of years, is it possible to adapt the timeline to show months (or weeks) instead of years?

      Delete
    2. No, not really Barbara. It would have to be a completely different spread sheet. Of course it wouldn't show ages etc as it wouldn't be for any particular year. It's got my husband thinking though. Maybe Version 3!.Watch this space!

      Delete
  22. Thanks so much to your husband for creating it, and you for sharing it! I heard about this from a friend, and I can't wait to try it out. Thanks again! :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. This is amazing! I saw it mentioned in Writing Magazine. I will definitely be using this. Please hug your husband for me (if that's okay ..)

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is amazing! I saw it mentioned in Writing Magazine. I will definitely be using this. Please hug your husband for me (if that's okay ..)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have passed on the hug, Fran - he says thanks.

      Delete
  25. Wendy, thank you so much! And my gratitude also to your clever husband. I too began with writing magazine stories, and your own journey sounds quite similar to my own. I got there, Wendy, am now on my 9th novel and I wish you all the luck in the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How lovely of you to visit my blog, Margaret and for your inspiring words... maybe one day!

      Delete
  26. Thanks for the spreadsheet Wendy. Kind of you to let others use it. I wish you success with your new found career as a writer.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Amazing, I've been looking for something exactly like this. I was afraid I'd have to make it myself. Thank you and thank your husband!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome, Duncan. I'm glad you can make use of it.

      Delete
  28. I've just downloaded this and I am excited to use it. Hopefully it will help me with my WIP. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yes thanks Wendy. I remember your letter from an old edition of Writing Magazine. After pulling my hair out with multiple time lines, plots and eras in my novel, this has been a blessing. Worth the half an hour I spent trawling through my back catalogue to find it. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This will make a huge difference in keeping track of timelines and dates on a story I gave up on because I became so frustrated being unable keep track.
    An enormous thank you.
    Liz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for leaving a comment, Liz. Glad my timeline will be a help.

      Delete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wendy, struggling getting started. Have taken writing classes, started a local paper while my son was in Afghanistan. I know I can write. I just need to get started. Love this and ... does your husband have a brother? ;) Great Job!! Margaret

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband does have a brother, Margaret, but I'm afraid he's no good at inventing timelines and is also spoken for!

      Delete
  33. Thanks for sharing this, Wendy, and thanks to your hubby for figuring it all out! I downloaded and am currently using the first version, but I'm greedy in downloading this one too, as I think it'll be helpful for the future! All the best and thanks again, Deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Date of Birth calculator is really useful too - I use it all the time with my magazine stories.

      Delete
  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Sorry, still working out the technology. I have just downloaded the file. It is great. Thanks to you and your husband - a great team!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Chris. Hope you find it useful.

      Delete
  36. Great find, thanks! Hope it's ok if i tweet it out. One question, how can i add additional character columns? i tried and the columns come out all skewed. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will check with hubbie and get back to you , Rubria.

      Delete
  37. Really, really helpful in trying to plot two intertwining stories taking place at different times. Just what I was looking for. Thank you. And if you want more columns, just duplicate the worksheet and you'll have another bunch to work from (though they won't be side by side).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary. Glad you found it useful and thank you for the tip about the columns.

      Delete
  38. I found this yesterday just when I was starting to panic about keeping track of my characters who lived long ago in a day, age, and place I don't completely understand. Having a timeline really helps me to see things in context. Thank you so much for being so open-hearted about sharing this tremendous resource! Hopefully your generosity will bring you all kinds of good karma for your own writing...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's very kind of you to say, Kimberly. I hope it is helpful 😄

      Delete
  39. Thanks for sharing, Wendy. I'm going to give this a try as I make sure everything in my story's timeline makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you so much! I'm def going to try this and share it around :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thanks again, Wendy. Version One was invaluable in writing my first novel. I've just downloaded Version Two to use for my second novel.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thank you Wendy and to your husband. I had a very similar idea... the rows for the characters, columns for the years. I didn't think to program it, which is why I was looking when I found your wonderful spreadsheet. Wanted to thank you for showing me how a good idea, well considered, can be a great idea.

    For those who know how, I stretched row 9 (above the character names) to make a place for character images or other visual stimuli.

    Thanks again to your husband. Pretty nifty coding there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you - I will pass the message on to him.

      Delete
  43. Hiya Wendy! Followed your suggestion the other night and downloaded this. Thank you so much - so useful to have some of the key world events already entered - this will be a lifesaver to me. Already having fun playing with it - and it's forcing me to make some decisions I hadn't confronted. Also realised one of my characters was too old! Thanks also to your husband
    Clare xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you found it useful, Clare. I'll pass on your thanks to my husband x

      Delete
  44. This looks a great tool Wendy, and Ian! Like most writers I'm always looking to improve. Thank you. I already have your lovely stories so will share your blog later. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen. That's very kind of you.

      Delete