Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Black Earth/Expired Reality Timeline In The Works

For over a year now, I've been wanting to create a timeline for my website that incorporates events from both my edgy Christian speculative fiction series, Black Earth, and my young adult scifi/fantasy series, Expired Reality. About a hundred years spans the gap between both series, but they are connected in more ways than can be counted. Time travel and alternate realities run rampant through both series, so I figured it would benefit my fans if a comprehensive timeline was created to keep things straight and somewhat easy to understand - at least when it comes to the chronology of events.

The only thing preventing me this whole time from creating said timeline has been a good timeline program. I suppose I could have broken down and just created a timeline from scratch and slapped it together with crappy fonts and even crappier looking pieces of clipart, but luckily I stumbled upon a great website a couple weeks ago called - Tiki-Toki.

Tiki-Toki is going to help me take my timeline idea to a whole...notha'....leva'!

The easiest way to explain how Tiki-Toki works is to check out the very first timeline you see when you go to their homepage - specific timeline template is the one I am currently using to create the Black Earth/Expired Reality timeline. The boxes contain dates and a title of the event, and then when you click on the MORE button in the bottom right corner of the event box, a summary box comes up where I can include an image, video, and audio along with links to whatever I think is relevant to the story event.

My biggest challenge right now is trying to figure out what content should be in the timeline. When I asked this question on Facebook, a friend of mine asked me what I want to achieve with it - a reward for fans of the series or marketing tool to lure new readers? And my answer was that this timeline is being created with the fans in mind, although a side effect of the timeline would be for new readers to be drawn toward some of the events and maybe be interested enough to actually check out my books.

This being said, another challenge is being careful for spoilers. The great thing about this software is that I can create categories (the little tabs you see at the top of the event boxes). So I can create a spoiler tab to warn new readers that the summary box that comes up when the MORE button is pressed will contain story spoilers. Not enough spoilers to compensate for reading my novels, of course, but even that is a fine line. How much is too much? Should I just concentrate on major events, or add in the little details that can add to a fan's vision of my series?

The answer to these questions goes back to the question my friend asked: What am I trying to achieve with this timeline? I want to give fans a reason to visit my website and peruse the extra - and hopefully unique - content I'm planning on building into it. So yes, I'll appeal mostly to the fans, but the timeline will also be set up so that new readers can come by, peruse the space/time continuum, and maybe walk away with some curiosity - enough to pick up one of my novels to see what all the buzz is about.

For those of you who are eager to check out the timeline, I plan to release it - along with some other refreshing website additions - when Black Earth: Dark Masquerade is released this summer, so stay tuned!

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