Character Development and Analysis


I am relatively new to Scrivener and have really enjoyed using the software. It has certainly helped with plot development and overall manuscript organization. I am curious as to how others are using the software with regard to character development and analysis. Currently I am using keywords for my characters and running searches/edit scrivenings. It is working okay but I wanted to solicit ideas from more experienced users as to what has worked and not worked for them.

Thanks for any and all responses!



I have a folder (Characters) and inside that folder is a document for each character. As a character develops I use a split pane (having the character document at the top and the current writing at the bottom) That way I can make notes on a character as scenes progress. I can also go back (scroll up) and see how the character is developing)

If that makes any sense?

Interesting (and makes sense)…

Sounds like it will work a little better than keywords (or in conjuction with them). I might try a combo approach on my next story.

Thanks for the suggestion, Wock!


I use a combination of annotations and keywords for this (and many other things). Annotations are extremely useful for tracking ongoing elements that appear throughout the story, because they are contextual.

Here is an example. A scene occurs in which a character undergoes some event or revelation that impacts their development. I create an annotation at that point in the scene with the following text: CHAR : CharacterName : And here I describe what happened to the character and how they changed, etc. (date stamp) . The first advantage to this method is that the location of the change is contextually recorded by the location of the annotation itself. Secondly, the prefix “CHAR :” is something that I can easily search for later to get all remarks on characters, using the annotation search tool. I can narrow it down even further by supplying the name of the character into the tool. I could also create a saved search by “CHAR : CharacterName :” so that it is easy to double-click on in the Binder and rapidly get a list of all the scenes where something notable happens to the character (as opposed to a character keyword search which might just return every single scene the character is in, regardless of the importance of the scene to that character).

Tracking the many aspects of a story with annotations, and using the export annotation feature has another valuable use: Since they are exported in Binder order, you can make sure continuity is all in order. I might spot a place where a character develops in a certain way too soon, because I moved that scene around for another reason—and this error might not be noticed using other methods which are not contextual.

Another advantage to using annotations is that they can be easily compiled into the manuscript, and thus accessible to programs other than Scrivener.

What about collecting all of the comments and attaching them to a character sheet? That is a little more tricky depending on how good with computers you are. What I do is export annotations from the File menu, and I have a bunch of pasting filters set up in PTH Pasteboard Pro that discard everything except for the character I am interested in. I just open the exported annotation file from Scrivener, select all, copy, and then paste into the character sheet in Scrivener, using the filter to extract only annotations starting with “CHAR : CharacterName :”. This isn’t the easiest thing to do, as it requires knowledge of scripting. But it is extremely efficient once you have it set up.

WOW!!! That’s what I’m talkin’ about! Annotations are the ticket. I started to dabble with them on my current project but never thought about their true versatility.

Thanks, AmberV.


I haven’t tried this yet in a new story, but I rescued a character I liked from a story I didn’t like by making extensive use of the “append selection to document” feature. I went through the story, and anything in it that provided information about the character, I appended to a character file. The resulting character profile was quite choppy but it had a lot of “feel” information that I wouldn’t necessarily think to write down in a profile as well as a lot of “fact” information that one normally puts in a profile.