Introduction to the Timeline

 

What is the Timeline View?

Campfire’s Timeline allows you to visualize the plot of your Story from a birds-eye view. You can add events, each of which has a name, description, location, and list of involved characters. You can also add dividers, which mark important moments in your story like “Act 2 Begins” or “Act 3 Climax”. Finally, you can connect events in a flowchart style, which can be used creatively to symbolize character progressions, thematic links, and much more.

 

Navigating the Timeline

The Timeline is an infinite canvas. You can navigate around it with the scrollbars, or you can click on an Event in the sidebar to instantly scroll to it. Finally, you can zoom in or out with View -> Zoom In and View -> Zoom Out. The shortcuts for these are Ctrl-Plus and Ctrl-Minus, respectively. Note that the sidebar lists Events in the order that they appear chronologically (from left to right) on the screen.

 

Timeline Filters

At the top-left corner of the Timeline, you’ll notice a button called Filters. When you click this button, a popup appears containing three sections: Characters, Locations, and Colors. These refer to the characters that play parts in your Events, the locations in which your Events take place, and the colors assigned to your Events. You can use Ctrl+Click to select multiple characters and locations, and you can click on the checkboxes to select colors. When you click out of the Filters window, you’ll notice the Filters will be applied to your Timeline. All Events that don’t meet the criteria you specify will be darkened, desaturated, and slightly blurred.

The default behavior of the filters uses the OR operator. What this means is that the Timeline will show every Event that has at least one of the attributes you specify. If you change the operator to AND, then the Timeline will show every Event that has all of the attributes you specify. The exception to this is if you use the AND operator and select multiple locations or colors. Each Event can have at most one location and at most one color, so this would filter out every Event on the Timeline. Instead of doing this, Campfire assumes you want to OR each of the locations, OR each of the colors, and then AND that all together with the selected characters. If that doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry – it’s a rather specific case that doesn’t crop up all that often.

 

Timeline Preferences

If you go to Campfire -> Preferences, you’ll notice a section titled Timeline. In this section, you can set two attributes: Connector Curviness and Default Connector Type. Connector Curviness is a number from 1 to 500. A higher value means the Event connectors are curvier. The Default Connector Type determines what line type is used when connections are drawn between Events. The options are Solid, Dotted, and Dashed.

Next, you’ll want to learn about Working With Events.