Finding character names within my book

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Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:15 pm
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Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:21 pm Post

I was wondering if there's a way to quickly see a list of any character names I've used within my manuscript. I have a feeling that I've used a different name for one of my characters but can't remember what it was so unable to do a search for it.
Thanks a million.

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Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:26 pm Post

Sorry, no. Scrivener has no way of knowing that "John Smith" is a character name, but "John Day" is a town in Oregon.

I also have a tendency to accidentally rename characters (or worse, to swap character names). Especially early on when the name isn't associated with a fully formed "person" yet. The only solution I've found is careful proofreading.

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Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:48 pm Post

I apply two solutions to the problem of keeping up with character names.

One is to create a keyword for every character*. I then apply those keywords to each document where they appear and/or are mentioned. This helps me keep up with recurring characters, especially if there's an extended break between writing sessions. It also gives me a handy floating window that I can reference for character names.

The other solution is to use my own customized "Character Sketch" documents. I keep that folder visible somehow (in the binder, or in outline mode in a split editor) to reference the names, and also to open in a Quick Reference window if I need to recall or record a detail about them.

I've taken to combining the two solutions, so that I can search for multiple characters to see where they appear together in scenes, and also bring up their sketch documents in the same search results.

* I learned this technique from long-time forum regular Pigfender, who runs our Novel In A Day event (coming up next week!). His blog post on the subject of characters and keywords can be found here: ... -keywords/
FKA: robertdguthrie
AKA: R Dale Guthrie, Robert, Mr. Obscure, and "Oh, it's you again".

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Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:53 pm Post

Project > Text Statistics > Word Frequency might help in your search, sorting by count.