An Alternate Timeline (ATL) is the set of events occurring after a point of divergence (POD). From that point onward, the timeline differs in some way from events as they unfolded in Our Timeline (OTL).
Most Alternate Timelines start at some point in the past and aspire to end in the present, though many authors choose to end their timelines earlier than that. Some ATLs continue on to some point in the future - though at that point the timeline becomes future history rather than alternate history and is not allowed on this wiki.
The typical timeline is written as chronological list, conveying historical events from the POD onward by their date, for instance:
- April 15, 1865 - A gunshot narrowly misses President Lincoln. He and his party are rushed back to the White House under heavy guard.
Alternate Timelines may be used as appendicies to an author's work of Alternative History to briefly illustrate, or explain the context of, major events in the rest of the book that unfolded differently than they did in OTL. Online, timelines serve as the background to alternate history stories told with narrative and graphics; many AH projects consist almost entirely of a timeline.
Some authors may also use them as experimental templates for future projects that have not yet been fully developed into books or stories. These timelines would not be seen as complete literary works, but are often "works in progress," although some more complete and detailed Alternate Timelines may stand on their own as works of literature.
- Alternative History
- Our Timeline (OTL)
- point of divergence (POD)
- Today in Alternate History, a daily-updated blog, featuring "Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today" in several recurring timelines. Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility.
- This Day in Alternate History, dedicated to showing significant events in years past on this day that shaped history... just, not our history.