Using Keywords to track Characters & Locations

User avatar
robertdguthrie
Posts: 3075
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:06 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: St. Louis, MO, USA
Contact:

Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:18 pm Post

Note: This is pigfender's brain child, but I thought it too useful not to have in the Tips forum...

pigfender wrote:Here's how I use keywords.

I set up in the Keyword HUD two keywords for each character, eg
Dave_(mentioned)
Dave_(present)
John_(mentioned)
John_(present)
Phil_(mentioned)
Phil_(present)

I also set up a keyword for each location in the book, eg
Hospital_Ward

Each character gets it's own colour, so Dave_(mentioned) and Dave_(present) will be the same colour. All locations are white.
Note that all the keywords have underscores instead of spaces - they only work if each keyword is a single wordstring.

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.

Eg, a scene betweeen Dave and John at the Hospital ward where they talk about Phil would have the following keywords:
Hospital_Ward
Dave_(present)
John_(present)
Phil_(mentioned)

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)

It's important to note that while you can have spaces in keywords, you should avoid doing so:
pigfender wrote: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):
"Hospital"
"Phil (mentioned)"
"Phil (present)"
"Dave (mentioned)"
"Dave (present)"

I then create a document and assign the following keywords to it:
"Hospital"
"Phil (mentioned)"
"Dave (present)"

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.

I'd like to add that you can also use a the Wiki practice of running words together, while capitalizing each: PhilDonahue(Present) will work just as well as Phil_Donahue_(present). The key to making searches work is to not have any spaces in your keyword.
Often wrong, rarely in doubt.
Time for a change... I'm now rdale; same dog-avatar, same dog... channel?

User avatar
robertdguthrie
Posts: 3075
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:06 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: St. Louis, MO, USA
Contact:

Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:47 pm Post

The original discussion thread: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=16255
Often wrong, rarely in doubt.
Time for a change... I'm now rdale; same dog-avatar, same dog... channel?

al
alwrite
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:31 pm
Platform: Windows

Sun Jul 15, 2012 1:47 am Post

Thanks for the post.
Looks like a good approach.

Cheers