I took part in an author chat using the new software Aeon Timeline for this year’s NaNoWriMo. The developer, Matt Tobin, was kind enough to release a demo to help prep this year’s NaNoNovels, and a few of us volunteered to talk to him about it, our projects, and our methodology.

How many years have you participated in NaNoWriMo?

This is my fourth year participating. I won my first two years when all I had to balance was a full-time job and a social life, but last year I lost miserably. I was not prepared for the work load that my first year of grad school entailed.

What are you writing for NaNoWriMo this year?

A contemporary fantasy heavily founded in mythology, which is what most of my projects tend to be these days. This year’s novel is about power, corruption, and the sacrifice kings. More specifically it’s about what happens when the gates to the Underworld are opened.

How do you plan for an event like NaNoWriMo?

My first NaNo I pantsed it. I did finish the novel, but I wedged myself into a corner so badly I still don’t know how to fix it. Now I have learned my best tactic is a loose outline: just enough info so that I know what is happening, who has what motives, and the through-line on each character’s schemes. But I also know that I need enough flexibility so the plot stays alive as I write. It’s not unusual for me to rework an outline half a dozen times before I reach the end.

What attracted you to using Aeon Timeline?

As I mentioned, I really needed a visual tool. Not only to keep track, but also to recognize when it’s getting too complex and I’m likely to leave my audience feeling dazed and confused—much like me.

Read the rest of the interview here on the Aeon Timeline Website