How do I create a historical yet fictional timeline for my story?

Fictional history and other events in time. This is something that I need help with.

Basically, I need to know how to create a timeline from scratch. Is there anybody out there who knows how to create fictional history for a story? I really can use the help.



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To be honest, I just did a high-level list for my WW2 fiction, like below:

Setting: Nagano, Japan. 1945

  • Opening chapters - August 1st week
  • Climax chapters - September 2nd week
  • Resolution chapters - September 2nd week

Setting: Iwo Jima and Mainland, Japan 1945

  • Opening chapters - Iwo Jima, March to April
  • Rising action chapters - Hiroshima, Hiroshima Region, April to July
  • Climax chapters - Kure, Hiroshima Region, July - September
  • Resolution chapters - Hiroshima, July - August | Nagasaki, Nagano, August - September 2nd week.

Not sure how effective this would be for others. It helped me as a quick checkpoint if I felt I was getting off track with the settings. I wrote my story from two perspectives, so this quick check helped me.

I used this is a sticky note on my PC desktop.


Interesting and a tad confusing. Not sure why that is though.

Maybe because of the format you are using.

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I wrote the one story from two perspectives. The story had two protagonists, so that’s why there are two versions of a timeline.

Regardless, just listing time periods in a chronological order then pointers for each milestone should be enough.

If you wanted to do something fancy, you could do something similar to below. Just swap the content to your story milestones and key events.


Wait a minute! Linkedin was made in 2002??? Seriously?


I know right? It’s older than YT. I think it might’ve been part of AOL when it was the rage. I was on Facebook back in 2004. It was, er, different?


That just shocked the hell out of me. LOL!



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Hi :wink: I did some. What exactly do you need help with? Getting started? Or just some aspect of making a timeline?

I’ve made one in full (birth of the fantasy world to present), one just as much as was necessary for the plot (beginning of horrific events to the ending. spanned across 4 books. inspired by ancient Italy), and another one just as much as was necessary for the plot (basically to understand how to alter real-world history to fit my alternative world history).


Oh, oh! Thank you so very much for being a big help! I thought I would never have someone help me out. I wouldn’t have never thought that someone would answer me back.

Anyway, yes I can use some help with this. The world in my story is rather and incredibly massive. This will be my first time doing this and I don’t know where to begin. So, I can really use some help with this.

I need help figuring out my world’s history. I mean I would do one for each nation but I have a shit ton of countries in my story. So, I got to say no to that. I guess I want to figure out what events took place that affected the world in a good way and bad way.

I know this has to be related to the plot. That is why I need help trying to figure things out.

Pretty much, there is a singular monarch who rules the entire world for every five thousand years then the title of Sovereign goes to someone else. The circle goes on and on never breaking. The events that surround the Sovereign are worldly events that are historical.

I can’t think of anything else. I am a little fried at the moment. LOL!


The thing that helped me was to think backwards. Start where the story starts. It’s possibly quite solid so start where it’s solid. In other words, give yourself a break :sweat_smile: Start where you know your stuff.

Since your world changes 5000 years at a time, you might want to first list up major events in order of occurrence starting with the most recent big event that happens in the story. The point of the timeline when you are making it in the beginning is to kind of outline the timeline. Like you said, only think about major events that affect the plot.

A war that separated countries, a peace treaty, if you have a kingdom maybe a king takes a throne or falls from it, crash of economy could be a big event, an earthquake, a leader goes on rampage, a flood drowns thousands…

A fictional history, if you want it to, can have a bunch of natural disasters (I mean, look at the history of our world). You have the weather at your fingertips and earthquakes can happen if you make them. Feel free to administer natural disasters or plagues in your timeline :stuck_out_tongue: No one is stopping you.

Keep in mind that whatever events happen logically lead to other events and it has to make sense in your world. So, if you have the fall of a kingdom, someone has to come up and take over the land. If you have a big famine, the economy might be affected. If someone changed the law, that might increase or decrease criminals. Cause and effect :wink: Even a fictional world has to logically make sense history-wise. BUT only events that have to do with the plot. If the crash of the economy doesn’t have anything to do with the plot, be nice to your brain and don’t think about it XD

After you’ve gone back in time as much as you need for the story, you can go back in the timeline and add in country-by-country details if they are important for your story. If it’s not important for the story, don’t overwork yourself with the timeline :sweat_smile: You don’t have to mention the characters at all unless their actions affect the big plot (like, don’t mention Betty changed her hairstyle, for example, or that her parents got divorced). It’s already a big endeavor to make up an entirely fictional timeline. I scoured through our world history timelines to figure out how it’s supposed to look.

Here’s an example for working backwards:
The bold is the main events. I suggest start with this kind of list. If you need years and dates, you can always go back and assign those later :slight_smile:

Timeline example thing

Main story event 3 (most recent, possibly the thing characters are dealing with for the majority of the story)
main story event 2 (caused 3)
main story event 1 (caused 2, least recent)
something that caused main story event 1
Peace Treaty
Citizens of Country B revolt
Country A and Country B are at each other’s throats and A takes over B.
Big World War caused by Country A
something that made Country A mad
another country does something
Global Famine
An unnaturally hot summer

Something like that. Ask yourself, “what could have caused this?” when you think backwards.

This is based on my experience with making the first timeline I mentioned which I did quite recently. If you need to talk more, I’m free :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Btw, this isn’t the words of an expert, but this way of making a timeline did work for me. It was after two failed attempts that I figured this out. Try it :wink:


I shall return later to comment back.

Be on the lookout. :slightly_smiling_face:


I am back! :slightly_smiling_face:

Wow, where to begin?! Anyway, I shall try to answer this in the best way that I can.

Before I try to tackle what you have commented, there is something I must say.

Every nation in the world of Alterra(my fictional world setting in my story) has a ruling monarch. Hell, even Alterra is ruled by a singular monarch known as the Sovereign. Now. Alterra is set in a futuristic era where there is advanced tech but also magical powers/magitek(magical technology). Moving on, there are nations that are high in the sky known as Skyland Nations/Higher Realms and nations that exist on land known as the Surface World/Lower Realms. The Sovereign dwells in a Skyland Nation that is higher than the other Skyland Nations. There are also these places called the Shadowlands which are former countries/monarchies which fell to ruin thus losing it’s population and everything else. The Shadowlands are to never be restore and are a reminder that once something has fallen it shall never rise again.

That is what I wanted to mention to you. It isn’t a lot but it is something.

On to what you have mentioned.

So, follow this list but backwards? Meaning start with main story event 3 then work my way up to an unnaturally hot summer?

Thinking backwards is the key, huh? The only thing I know so far in my world is that the Sovereign is the main ruler, every nation has a monarch, there is magic and immortality, and that is it I guess.

I guess I want to do a timeline of the events that not only surround the Sovereign, but surround the nations that are related to the plot. Because I have so many nations, I will have to select which will serve its purpose to the plot.

Mostly the Sovereign controls the world of Alterra in a way where if something were to happen to the Sovereign, the world will suffer because of it. The Sovereign is viewed as a physical deity and has absolute power over Alterra and the population. The Sovereign handles the problems that the world faces while never leaving the palace(there is a person who stands in place for the Sovereign if they want to leave their palace).

The countries of Alterra have their own issues and historical events to deal with. Yet I still want to mention them or at least some of them. The ruling of the Sovereign has been around for eons though their origin is a bit shaky since nobody knows when it happened. But eons ago there wasn’t a need for a Sovereign till something changed/happened.

I am probably rambling now. So, I will stop and come back to reply to your comment.

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Yep. Or it could be an unnaturally cold winter :stuck_out_tongue:

Some questions for you:
How does the Sovereign become a Sovereign?
How did all this Sovereign stuff come about? Was it always there?

You might want to think about these. The origins might be shaky to your world’s people, but you can know about it :stuck_out_tongue: It might help with your timeline.

I know things about the world that none of the characters in any of my books in the World of Elgana would ever find out, but I needed to figure it out for the timeline. Like, how a world made of six torus worlds came about. Or, how the magick was REALLY created and not all the fairytale stuff that citizens talk about. Citizens think the tales are real.


The Elder Primes which are a group of people select a random commoner to become a Sovereign. Normally, they choose people who have nothing going for them in their lives but are willing to change that. Becoming the Sovereign will make things different for them and they get to rule for five thousand years. Ruling for five thousand years is no problem if you are an immortal.

Nobody really knows but the Elder Primes do. At one point in life there was no ruler of Alterra but that changed eons ago. Something happen that sparked Alterra to be ruled by a singular monarch.

I know you wanted me to think about it. Yet I need to get it out of my system.


Yes, please do :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: It always helps to tell someone because you get to sort out your thoughts.

Why five thousand years? Why not eternal if you are an immortal?
How often do Sovereigns actually change? Have there been exceptions? Are there people who decide to defect some years in?

Do they become immortal when they become a Sovereign? How does that happen? Are there people who refuse it?

(I can really keep asking you about your world if you want me to XD)

So, big question, what are some of the main events you DO want to include in your timeline. Disregarding order, if you have to.


The lifespan of a human in Alterra is 10,000 years. So, they aren’t truly immortal(my earlier mistake). The reason they have a Sovereign rule for 5000 years instead longer is, because depending on how old the Sovereign is the Elder Primes do not want them ruling up to 10,000 years old. Alterra is an elective monarchy and each new Sovereign must keep balance in the world. Having the same Sovereign rule for long than 5000 years disrupts that balance.

Every 5000 years


No. People who are chosen to become the Sovereign are normally the ones who accept the duties without making a fuss. The Elder Primes are very particular about who they choose to rule as the Sovereign.

The commoner is already “immortal”.

Nobody really refused the title of Sovereign since everyone wants to rule the world in their own way. There are people who are against the idea of having a person rule the world of Alterra. Yet that is a topic for another time. LOL!

Sure thing! I shall try my best to answer if I can!


Ah, so when you think of the big events,
500 years at a time might be a good idea.

Does time feel different for them?
Like, does 10,000 years feel like what 100 feels for us?


Time works a bit the same like on Earth except longer.

Yeah. Although, when they die at the age 10,000 which I find a little odd their bodies turn to dust. It is a sign that they died gracefully rather than in some other type of way. Truth be told, human can die the same way they do in the real world. The ones who live to be 10,000 years old without any problems are the lucky ones.

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