"Characters" and "Places"

I’m still a little confused about the characters and places tabs in my Scrivener. From what I understand, they’re just organizational tools, places where I can keep track of characters or places I introduce.

But since they’re there by default, why not make them that much more useful?

For example, if I have a character named Johnathan Donovan, with nicknames John or Johny, then any time I start typing: J or Jo or Joh etc. it should have a box appear (like in Google Suggest or email programs when you’re entering in the TO field) with the following names: Johnathan, John, Johny, Johnathan Donovan, Donovan (sorted in the order I’ve used them in the past, or alphabetically, etc.). This way I wouldn’t always have to type the characters name and I can be sure on spelling without going back to check my character’s section.

It should also have the feature that, since it knows all the possible ways the character can be referred to, you can just click on the character’s file in Scrivener and display statistics on how many chapters character appears in, etc. as well as show all sections of text where the character appears (without having to manually search for all possible names).

A similar thing should be done with location. Just like we tag a document currnetly with labels, we should be able to tag a document (or even a portion of a document if that would work) with a “location.”

I think these are really useful features, especially for someone like me who isn’t good at keeping track of these things myself. But in order for me to actually take the step and use them I would like to see these integral parts of the software, well, integrated more into it.

Thanks again for Scrivener!


I think you must be talking about Scrivener Gold and not about Scrivener. Scrivener Gold had “People” and “Places” folders by default, but Scrivener does not. In Scrivener, you can add your own root folders (only Draft, Research and Trash are there by default). You can add keywords to each document in both Scrivener Gold and Scrivener, which means you can add character’s names or nicknames that way and do a keyword search, which would show you all of the chapters tagged with that keyword.

Thanks and all the best,

Hi Keith,

Oh yes, that’s right. I just switched over so I got mixed up.

Still, I think having this specialized form of keywords would be useful in writing–something to consider. For example, wouldn’t have to bother tagging a section with a character name (would be automatic) and would help me from typing the same names over and over again (kind of like Final Draft with screenplays).

When it comes to lcoations, though, I guess the keyword system in there now is fine.

Thanks for the reply.

The problem is that Scrivener is a general writiing tool - although it has some bias towards fiction writers, the new version really caters to a much wider range. Automating character names etc would really say, “Hey, this is for novel writers”. I want to keep things as fluid as possible.


And those of us who write both fiction and non-fiction thank you! :laughing:


Actually, that sort of ability already exists in Tiger itself, to a degree. When typing, if you press the key, a list of possible words based on what you have started typing, will appear. Included in this list are any special words you may have used in the current document. So, if you have a specialised lexicon of words, you can create a boilerplate that you annotate into the top of every new document that you leave in while writing. Thus, all of your special words will be in the list, and the auto-complete will help you out.

On the topic of characters (or any objects in your story that you wish to track), I suggest using keywords. Notice a nice feature in the keywords HUD, you can create organisations by placing keywords within keywords. Here is the trick, come up with some unique way of referring to “Jonathan,” and use that as a keyword in every single document that features this character. You can then place all of the derivatives underneath the main keyword entry, for your own reference. You needn’t actually use these keywords, though you could if you wanted to get really specific. If you do, I would suggest always using the root keyword in addition to the specific keyword. That way you can track the total number of scenes this character appears in, no matter what derivative is actually used.

I overlooked the keyword functions a bit back during SG, but made it a point to familiarise myself with them this time around. There is quite a lot you can do with keywords. I have my keywords organised into several top-level groups for different purposes. There are metaphors, characters, all the normal things; I also am tracking parts of my workflow using keywords. There are cases where I might do a task that is small enough to never merit creating a status label for it, but it is still something I need to track. I’ll use keywords for that. Plot threads are keywords, et cetera.

And the brilliant thing is that this same system could be used for somebody writing their dissertation. They would just be using the keywords for entirely different purposes.


Wow. I never knew that. Maria’s right. I’m learning all kinds of good stuff I never had a clue about. Like Keith’s option-click on folders to collapse/expand them, etc.

This seems to be another candidate for the tips and tricks thread, even if not specific to Scr!



TextEdit also auto-completes when I type “command period” Since the escape key exits full screen, perhaps command period could be used to activate the suggestions list.

I use Scrivener for academic writing and the auto-complete would be great for Author names in parenthetical references. I have long thought that an x-code/ Project Builder for writing would be useful and this is as close as I have found. Thanks for the great program.

I have fixed beta 3 so that if you hold down alt-esc in full screen, it will not exit full screen, so that you can still use auto-complete whilst in this mode.
Thanks for reminding me of this issue, I had forgotten about all about it.
All the best,