keywords and specific paragraphs

I’ve just started messing around with keywords for the first time - I sort of get it, but possibly I’m not using it right. I know I can create keywords in each separate chapter, say, that tells me a character is in that chapter. I know I can select and group those chapters and scan them all at once using ‘edit scrivenings’. But say I have a single paragraph where that character gets mentioned, that I want to easily be able to refer to at a later stage? Is there any way I can highlight/select a paragraph, and assign a keyword to it?

So far I’ve been breaking chapters up into chunks - separate documents, each representing a scene of successive day - and assigning keywords to each, but somehow it feels clunky, or like I’m not doing it right. I have characters who make statements concerning certain places or things, and I want to be able to zoom through these statements/infodumps easily. There’s just doing a search, but that pulls up all the irrelevant stuff too. Is there already a way to do this, or is scrivener just not set up for that kind of thing?

Here’s one feature you may not have encountered yet - “append selection to”. It has many uses, but the particular application I’m thinking of is as a way of collecting snippets from your story.

For example, every time a particular character is described, mentioned, or whatever, something that you may want to refer back to, hilight that section, “append selection to” that character’s file (eg, in the research folder or another one you created a character file for). Then when you want to check on some detail about that character, all the mentions are in the character file.

This is better than copying and pasting because it doesn’t actually require you to open the character file, it just adds the selected text to the bottom of the file you specify and then you can get back to writing.

You can use this for things other that characters of course, but that’s what you mentioned and that’s what I’ve used it for. (I “rescued” a character I liked from a story I didn’t by grabbing all the little snippets that described him and his personality and putting them in one file. Very handy feature.)

It isn’t quite what you’re asking about, but keywords can’t be applied to specific paragraphs within a scrivening and it’s a useful way to collect everything in an infodump way in one place. Of course, if you change the source, it will not update, it’s just a quick & easy copy-paste, not a live link.

You have the right idea, cutting things up to produce better meta-data results, such as keywords. But yes, there is a limit to how much you want to do that and still be practical. There are two tools that might be of use: Highlights and annotations. Highlights may not be perfect in this case, because you are limited in how many different ones you can use. Annotations are nice because they can be placed right into the paragraph you wish to mark, but require typing—not sure if that is a problem for you. For example you could place an annotation at the end of the paragraph with the character’s name in it, or whatever else you are wishing to track.

With both annotations and highlights, you can search through them one by one (it is in the Edit/Find) menu. The annotation search tool lets you confine the search by word matching, so if you keep to a system, this can be useful for finding things.

The drawback to both of those is that you cannot do a quick “filter” like search that Keywords allow. But again, if you develop a system this can be circumvented. It might be something simple like “CHAR:Joe”. The likelihood of that particular set of letters and symbols coming up as a false positive is pretty minimal. Using Project search, you can search for that, and then save this search into the Binder for quick reference later on. Click on the little magnifying glass in Project Search for options to help narrow this down to text only searching, and saving the search.

Actually, the append thing is really quite cool, and might sort out one of my usual problems - having a file put together, easily, that I can refer to at the later-draft stage and make sure statements and info are consistent throughout, which is what I was pretty much after. It doesn’t edit the original manuscript, no, but it’s still better than what I had before. Thank you, I hadn’t quite realised I could do that. The highlight function is cool - but doesn’t quite work for me simply because you can’t customise the colours: I tend to work with white text on black in fullscreen mode, and the text tends to become almost invisible when highlighted in pink or yellow (or maybe I could change my default text colour to, say, green). Being able to jump/search through different highlights is definitely an advantage.

I think you can change highlight colors? I added it as a button to the toolbar and i have a little dropdown arrow menu that appear when i click and hold - that gives me a choice of various other colors.

You can choose between five preset highlight colours but you can’t customise these colours. I’ll probably add that to a future version, but not for a while as there are the issues of storing the selected colours, giving them names etc to think about…