One challenge writing five books has been keeping track of all the details: who is who, and when things happened. At the beginning of Wolfe in Shepherd’s Clothing (Book 3), we realized that we needed a better system to figure things out.
I found a program called Aeon Timeline, and it’s terrific. We can input every event of the story, including ones from the past that affected the present.
We now knew when everyone was born and married, when people emigrated to Canada, and when bad things happened (as well as a tiny plot hole 😳).
Recently, we’ve started using it again to figure out the story of the final book.
Although I love trying new technology, Angie finds it stressful. So when I introduce a new app or program into our process, I show Angie around and let her get comfortable with it. Since we had never used Aeon Timeline to figure out the outline, I expected a similar challenge.
Yet, Angie took to it splendidly.
I handled the inputting of information and had to guide her to our shared folder. Still, once she got it open, she barely hesitated in finding her way around. She found all the different ways to look at the information (you can view it as a spreadsheet, a timeline, a cross-section of relationships, as well as a narrative outline).
I’d make a change or show her a different page, and I’d hear an audible “Ooooh!” from her. Never had we ever had such a seamless introduction to technology.
Afterwards, I asked her why she found it so easy. She said it was familiar since we had used it before and didn’t seem hard to use. She also said it was pretty and helped her line things up visually.
I’ve thought about her embracing it so quickly as well. She says that I often introduce new technology to “streamline the process.” But she’ll often ask right afterward, “What was wrong with the process before?”
It’s a fair question and one I need to listen to more. If we successfully wrote the other books, why do we need to change what worked?
However, my new technology added value this time. Angie was able to keep track of all the different threads, whether they were a part of the story or something that had happened before. More importantly, it helped her visualize a time that spread over decades.
So going forward, perhaps the real question I need to ask from now on: Does every new technology benefit us, or is it a waste.
Only time will tell.
I’m not sure what our readers imagine it’s like when we compose our newsletters. Generally, I don’t have a lot of issues with thinking of something to write about—except this time.
I guess the idea generator slows down occasionally. 🤨
A few days ago, I left the school tired from a busy day of working with teens. Taking my walk home over the bridge and through the park. I looked forward to the time to decompress. It was a chilly, gloomy day, not cheery at all. It matched my mood pretty well.
I thought about how autumn is almost over and how time is just this weird thing that keeps moving forward but also cyclical and repeating itself. Next year around this time, I’ll likely be feeling the same sort of transitional stuff.
Even when David messaged me about this particular newsletter, the first couple of suggestions I had were: Aeon Timeline, time, hibernation, lighting everything on fire and moving to Cuba. (I wouldn’t actually burn everything down, but visiting Cuba when things get cold around here is a pretty good idea. But I was serious about the first three.)
As you can tell, time is definitely on my mind—but not in a negative way. It’s an awareness I have. I try my very best to use my waking hours productively. I have a list of things I do daily, and it is vital to my mental health that I get these things done.
Perhaps that’s why I was so impressed with Aeon Timeline. It’s orderly, everything—like EVERYTHING—was presented right in front of me, no details could be missed—as long as they were on the timeline in the first place. And, of course, it appeals to my visual sensibility—it’s so pretty.
I think that on that bridge, on my walk home, I had a similar feeling. My timeline was present—moving forward and repeating in patterns—and I could see it all.