Keeping track of characters, etc...

I read on the forum about Scrivener being helpfull in keeping track of characters, storylines etc. But how excactly is this done?

However you want… You might set up a folder for characters and locations, or you might keep it in the project notes. You might have keywords and assign them to documents to aid in searching… I’ll leave other users to offer tips…

One thing I have done is use the “append selection to document” - I have a file for each character, for notes, and when I write something in the story about the character - something he does, something she says, something said about the character - that I consider to be important to that character’s personality, I will hilight it, and “append selection to document” to send it to their file without actually breaking the flow of writing too much by opening their file. It helps me keep track of quirks that showed up in response to the story, that I hadn’t planned! I also used this method to “rescue” a character from a story - didn’t like the story and was dumping it, but I liked the character and wanted to keep it for a better story.

Also, a common thing is to use keywords, and put the character’s name in the keyword for every scene in which they appear (some also put the character’s name in keyword for a scene where they are mentioned as well).

You could use the coloured labels to indicate the main POV for a scene, if you have a multi-POV story. Then you can just glance at the coloured icons in the binder or coloured pins on the corkboard to see if one character is dominating or not getting enough “screen time”.

Really, you can use it however it works best for you.

Thanks for the comment, could you explain this a little bit more, I don’t know what you mean:

“Also, a common thing is to use keywords, and put the character’s name in the keyword for every scene in which they appear (some also put the character’s name in keyword for a scene where they are mentioned as well).”

You mean that you put the name and the scene description or number in the keyword HUD?

What about the amount of exposure a character in a story has, do you know a way to keep track of this? Or when and where he appears in a scene as some kind of overview sheet that can be created easily?


No, you would have the character’s name in the keywords HUD and drag it into the keywords area of the scene/document (or you can just drag keywords onto the documents in the binder).

ah! Now I finally understand how to use this!.Thanks.


Thanks for this, janra. Your post appeared when I searched the forum for suggestions on how to implement keywords, and I thought I’d try your “append selection” idea since I seem to be doing a lot of toing and froing between character files and plot outline files at the moment. It has worked a treat, and has saved me a lot of time and distraction this week – I just have to go through the character files every now and then to rationalise them and tidy them up a bit. Makes me feel quite organised and efficient! Thank you :slight_smile:

I am very new to Scrivener, just got it a couple of weeks ago. I love how it works in the tutorial and in theory. However, I am having a lot of difficulty making it work in reality. I stumbled upon this thread today, and was so delighted to find it as this is one of the reasons why I bought the program in the first place. I’ve printed the entire tutorial, so hopefully I will be able to find this “append selection to document” that is described in a couple of posts. I can see how this would be a great help in keeping track of characters and important points.

Is it the same thing for creating a timeline? I have to keep track of many things for my characters and stories as my daughter and I write l-o-o-o-o-n-n-g stories that usually end up being a series. Several years are involved with generations as well.

When you need to learn how to do something new, what is the right process? Help doesn’t seem to be using the same words I do. Thanks for any and all input. Penny