Quite a while ago I posted on the Lit’n'Lat forum some details on how I use Keywords in my Scrivener projects to keep track of characters and locations, and someone suggested that I also post it here. So here goes…!
I set up in the Keyword HUD two keywords for each character, eg
I also set up a keyword for each location in the book, eg
Note that all the keywords have underscores instead of spaces – they only work if each keyword is a single wordstring.
Each major character gets it’s own colour, so Dave_(mentioned) and Dave_(present) will be the same colour. Minor characters are all the same colour. All locations are white.
Then, for each scene (which in my case is an individual text file) I add a number of keywords.
The first is the location the scene takes place. Then there are any characters present in the scene, followed by any that are only mentioned.
So for example, a scene between Dave and John at the Hospital ward where they talk about Phil would have the following keywords:
With this set up, I can then use the search facilities to tell me things such as:
Has Dave ever been to the Hospital Ward?
Search for: Hospital_Ward Dave_(present)
Have Dave and Phil met in the book / Show me all the scenes with Dave and Phil in.
Search for: Phil_(present) Dave_(present)
If in editing I want to change something about my description of the hospital ward, I can call all the scenes up with:
Search for: Hospital_Ward
I can also find out all the scenes where John is either physically present or mentioned:
Do an “Any words” Search for: John_(mentioned) John_(present)
(change search parameters in the little drop down triangle in the search bar)
I want to underline the importance of not using any spaces in your keywords, so…
I have set up a test project in which Keyword HUD contains the following keywords(note this is an example of it NOT working, so the keywords have spaces not underscores):
I then create a document and assign the following keywords to it:
Now if open up the HUD and select “Phil (present)” and search, I get zero results. Which is correct and as it should be. The HUD is doing an ‘Exact Phrase’ search, and therefore looking for a single text string which says “Phil (present)” but can’t find one because it doesn’t exist.
Now, if I do a search in the HUD by selecting “Hospital” and “Phil (present)” you’d want this to also be negative: Phil has never been to the hospital. However, because the HUD search needs to do an “All Words” search for multiple keyword searches you actually get a positive result for the document we created. This is because it is able to find all the words “Hospital”, “Phil” and “(present)” in the keywords for that file. Although in reality Phil isn’t present. Dave is (and talking about Phil behind his back apparently).
But, you don’t have any of these problems if you use underscores instead of spaces.