How to Write a Timeline-a guide

Discussion in 'Help and Rules' started by maverick, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. BlairWitch749 Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    Maverick this is a great thread

    some choice BW tidbits:

    1. just because you have a pod, no matter how interesting and obscure, doesn't mean it is basis for a tl... it has to be able to branch out and turn into something pleasurable to write.... i have over 30 tl's in my backlog, but a lot of them are just pod dead ends that wouldn't get past 4 or 5 updates

    2. use the boards comments to improve your tl... feedback here whilst sometimes delving into just i like or don't like, often ends up being full of new and interesting ideas; there are a lot of smart people here you can absorb things from and improve your tl

    3. try to keep your outlines at least a little bit ahead of your most recent update... it makes it much easier to write chapters if you know where you are going

    4. don't be afraid to end your tl if you feel its done... just because we are all nerdy and want you to update your tl into the year 3057 doesn't mean you should. leave on a high note that you are comfortable with; you can always pick it back up or rewrite it

    5. break up your chapters and paragraphs... nothing turns me off more as a reader than having an entire 100000 word tl in one page... especially when it is just one massive blob of text... hence why i insert pictures in my writing

    6. don't be afraid to ask for inforation or help... there are a wealth of experts on here on a wide range of topics who will be happy to answer your questions... hell they frequently ask to collobarate with you

    7. if you find a fellow expert on a time period; establish a relationship via IM and do a joint tl showcasing your best talents
     
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  2. ComradeTovarich Laksamana

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    Pulau Ujong
    Now for some tips from near-Turtledove winner, OKH_1946:

    1) In a joint TL, coordination is VERY VERY important. The lack of which may result in updates that are not in sync with one another.

    2) Throw in pop culture references to give you readers a little laugh.

    3) Throw in a karaoke session (read: song) once in awhile to entertain readers.

    4) Just because no one comments on your update or TL means that it sucks. The number of views is a somewhat accurate way of telling if your Tl is popular.

    5) Never write in a bad mood. Your updates would tend to be off. Also, never wait for when you have a good mood to write. You'll take a long time to get your TL done.
     
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  3. leenco12 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Join a contest and force yourself to update often
     
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  4. quixo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Sorry, I have a problem with the abbreviations:
    POD, TL, ITTL... and such

    could anyone explain what each means or where i can find a tutorial of them??
     
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  5. Thande a special man who knows these things Donor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    God's Own County
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  6. willbell Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    Timeline 001
    Point of Divergence - POD
    Timeline - TL
    Original Timeline - OTL
    Alternative Timeline - ATL
    In the timeline - ITTL (as far as I know)
    Any others?
     
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  7. kspence92 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    Another abbreviation is ISOT . It stands for Island in the Sea of Time, a reference to a book in which an island travels through time. That one confused me at first.
     
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  8. freethinker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    Location:
    On a nice little island
    Thank you all for your posts this really helps alot.
    Now I just need to pick a time period to start..
     
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  9. willbell Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    Timeline 001
    I suggest starting with a cliche, one that you know a lot about and are interested in (destroy Rome, kill a major religion, WW2, stop a presidential assasination...). And then try a barbones timeline.
    Hopefully in the process you will find a more unique idea just by researching the surrounding history. For instance, in studying for my World without Rome I have had to consider the possibilities of a world with christianity, and do work on a world where Rome was not reunited by Theodosius 1.
    Hope this helps.
     
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  10. dgharis Elitist toll collector

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Location:
    Woodlyn, PA
    For those who update infrequently, subscribe to your own thread. That way you don't have to hunt for it in the forum when it's time for an update; you can just go to UserCP to find it.
     
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  11. willbell Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    Timeline 001
    I have written one moderately successful timeline and I have advice for you; proofread, my skills at proofreading are good, I want to publish as soon as I am finished writing, but you wouldn't submit something to a teacher before proofreading and this is going to be read by more people; take criticism, its not the end of the world that the guy you chose to centre the story around has a name that wouldn't existed for several centuries, just go back and edit it!
    Another thing, don't ignore wikipedia, wikipedia is your friend. If you find something questionable, just decide not to include it, or check their resources, ask a friend on AH.com! There is plenty of us here, I guarantee you will find someone if you look.
     
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  12. IanBertram ...an exile from the Kingdom of Northumbria

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Location:
    ...in my head
    Don't give up

    Its been a while since this thread has had anything posted and I've just come back to developing and writing my TL after a break caused by illness, so here goes with my own experiences.

    I'm currently on my third or fourth incarnation of the timeline I'm working on. I've also written several minor scenario based things set in an alternative world without looking at how or why. Each TL reboot has meant more research so that the books alone now stretch for about a metre on my shelves plus two large box files of articles etc. It is easy to get bogged down in the research though so what I currently do is invent something that sounds reasonably plausible and flesh it out with research rather than relying on the research to lead the way.

    I started with where I wanted to be and then looked at how I might get there. I then found the period in which the POD is set to be so fascinating it took over for a while, hence the huge quantity of books!

    The format I'm adopting is a hybrid of in-history texts and short passages covering 'real life' events in the TL told through the eyes of fictitious characters. I have a great deal of respect for those who can write novel format TLs but I know dialogue is not my strong point. To get the tone and style of the in-history texts right I research contemporary documents - e.g. a court martial report or cabinet minutes - and then rewrite the content to fit the events I want to depict.

    For my current TL I've got three broad themes, equivalent I suppose to story arcs, which form the basis of research. I have the broad plan for the TL in a single outline file but I also have word processor files for each theme with notes, quotes etc which are based on years and I'm building up files for the main protagonists in the more story based sections - these include the 'back story' and consider how they might impinge on each other which hasn't yet, although I expect the fictitious characters to meet ones from OTL at some point.
     
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  13. PrinceVictortheMad Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2015
    (I'm not sure if I should post here :eek:) Ah, hello :eek: I'm new here :) I have some plans to start a timeline involving our lovely Prince Albert Victor :D I'm not sure how best to go about though, is there anyone i could pm about it? :eek:
     
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  14. Gwrtheyrn Annwn A Welshman at Heart

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Location:
    Rhydychen/Oxford
    Whilst not an expert I offer my assistance in your TL writing. Feel free to shoot me a PM. :D
     
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