Tables needed for Parallel Plotting & Character Comparison

Ji
JimmyMcVideo
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Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:19 pm Post

Hi,

[I was reading over previous Wish List posts about the need for Customized Columns, thinking those posts would be related to my request here. But from what I can tell, my request is a bit different].

I'm trying to figure out how Scrivener could satisfy my need for brainstorming and keeping track of:
1) PARALLEL PLOTS and PLOT PROGRESSION OVER TIME
2) CHARACTER TRAIT COMPARISON


Regarding #1: Many writers gravitate towards J.K. Rowling's spreadsheet-style brainstorming and tracking of parallel plots.
Here's the link to a sample from her Harry Potter plotting:

http://www.slashfilm.com/wp/wp-content/images/jkrowlingpage.jpg

For brainstorming multi-plot development within a single work, Rowling's multi-column/multi-column spreadsheet format makes a lot of sense to me. You see how each plot progresses in parallel from month to month or chapter to chapter. All in *one* master page. 

Regarding #2: Characters. What I'm talking about is something like this:

https://sites.google.com/site/stansfreeebooks/Home/character-trait-spreadsheet

It's a way to get a master overview of all your characters and their traits, which helps when you need to compare between them.

I gravitate towards making similar charts when thinking about an ensemble cast of characters.  For example, I'd have individual columns for NAMES,  WANTS/NEEDS, PHYSICAL TRAITS,  STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES,  JOYS, PAINS, etc. 

________

I love Scrivener's flexibility when it comes to creating folders, subfolders, documents and subdocuments, etc. And I love how you can hyperlink elements throughout the program.

So my guess is it wouldn't be too hard (?) to have a table/spreadsheet document type in Scrivener the cells of which could contain simple text (linkable hypertext.)

My big question is: Is there a way to do this kind of thing in the current Scrivener?

As a workaround:
I could use Omni Outliner (or Excel) to create these kinds of simple spreadsheets and then import that in some way into Scrivener and then create the internal links?

Ideally, what export format out of OO would be used?

I tried RTF and that seemed to work ok. Then I just created SCRIVENER LINKS to link line items in the imported doc to Character Sketch sheets or whatever I wanted.

But the disadvantage of that is that I'm still modifying and editing the spreadsheet in Omni Outliner whenever I want to change it. (Also I could only seem to link whole lines, not individual cells).

I'd rather have this kind of display - this master table/chart - embedded as a feature in Scrivener.

Any other ideas?
_____
By the way, I read that Scrivener now has two "customizable" columns in Outline view? I tried to see what was meant by that but I'm still scratching my head.

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Jaysen
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Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:28 pm Post

Have you looked at Aeon for the plot/time line thing?

I've not used it, but it may get the itch for you.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 24 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Ji
JimmyMcVideo
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Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:33 pm Post

I haven't. I'll look into Aeon. Thanks!

But...I can see now that part of my need is solved by Scrivener's Table formatting function. Assuming I can link individual cell text to sheets and folders in the binder, this will at least allow me to brainstorm and link what I come up with to the main Scrivener content. Cool!

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KB
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Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:39 pm Post

I would have thought Scrivener's outline view would be perfect for the Rowling-style spreadsheet - that's exactly the sort of thing it's there for:

Image

As for character spreadsheets, no, there's no way of doing that exactly, but you can create individual character sheets, of course (see the Novel template for a way of doing so). Remember that Scrivener isn't only for fiction writers, so having a character spreadsheet built in wouldn't make sense to the philosophy of Scrivener as a whole.

Hope that helps.

All the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

Ji
JimmyMcVideo
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Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:51 pm Post

Thanks for the reply Keith. I'm new at this and didn't realize you could customize the columns *that much* in outline view.

I guess I just need to figure out how to do that. Any hints? :)

I'm looking at View > Outliner Columns.... but don't see one for Custom Field. Hmmm.

Ji
JimmyMcVideo
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Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:01 pm Post

Ah looks like this article answers my question about custom columns.

I have to modify the Meta-Data...

http://gwenhernandez.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/tech-tuesday-custom-meta-data-in-scrivener-2-x/

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KB
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Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:11 pm Post

Yep, that's the one - use Project > Meta-Data Settings > Custom Meta-Data to add new meta-data fields (tick "Wrap" for any that you want to wrap across multiple lines as you type). Then you can add them to the outliner using the Outliner Columns setting and drag the columns around using the header bar.

The beauty of this is that once you've planned everything out, you can drill down into the individual chapters or scenes and start writing with the synopsis and custom meta-data information alongside:

Image

All the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

Mr
MrDithers
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Wed May 09, 2012 4:28 pm Post

Can't wait for this to come out in the Windows version.

tr
troyscrivenerforum
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Thu May 10, 2012 2:42 pm Post

MrDithers wrote:Can't wait for this to come out in the Windows version.


Me too x 1000000000.

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robertdguthrie
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Thu May 10, 2012 3:50 pm Post

Well, if you really can't wait, there's always http://store.apple.com . You could always ebay those collectibles/old car/children/spouse if you don't have the funds. :twisted:
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Jaysen
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Thu May 10, 2012 3:52 pm Post

robertdguthrie wrote:Well, if you really can't wait, there's always http://store.apple.com . You could always ebay those collectibles/old car/children/spouse if you don't have the funds. :twisted:

Every time I try to eBay the spawn, everyone wants to charge me to take them. I'm not sure what is wrong with my method.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 24 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Mr
MrDithers
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Wed May 23, 2012 2:54 am Post

I don't have anything to ebay. Poor college student that's in that awkward transition of having graduated school and trying to find their first real job. Maybe then I can afford to make the transition to Mac, but it would cost me as much as a decent car to do that since I'd have to get so much software over again and I can't exactly get my education discounts (until I start teaching that is).

ty
tylertoo
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Wed May 23, 2012 12:16 pm Post

MrDithers wrote:Can't wait for this to come out in the Windows version.


Newcomer here w/the Win version. Just to clarify: what is meant by "this"? Custom meta data?

Assuming the answer is yes, is Custom meta data in the plans for the Win version?

Mr
MrDithers
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Mon May 28, 2012 8:29 pm Post

Yes, "this" means custom meta-data.

If you don't know what that is, then here's an explanation (if you do know what that is then just skip the following paragraph):

The Mac version of the software has a lot more features than the Windows feature. One of them that everyone is raving about is Custom Meta-Data. Right now on Windows, all we have is general meta-data, like label colors and status indicators, date modified, etc. That will all pull up on the outliner too. Custom Meta-data is where you can enter in all your own fields. For example, I can create my very own meta-data field for entering characters and be able to pull that up in the outliner as opposed to tracking them with keywords and collections. Same thing with locations, time, and just about anything else you could possibly think of, and then some. They're meta-data fields that you can customize to your heart's content. Have fun.

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xiamenese
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Mon May 28, 2012 9:13 pm Post

And yes, all this is planned for Windows and is on the road-map. But the Mac version was in development for about 7 years before work started on the Windows version, so the latter is still having to catch up.

Mark
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