I’m making a permanent move from Mac to PC, and this move has included buying Scrivener. As a mac user, I used Storymill, Contour, and Persona, all of which were developed by Mariner Software. Storymill, which used to be a competitor for Scrivener, is no longer being developed. The Windows versions of both Contour and Persona leave much to be desired. I don’t particularly need Contour so I’m not going to look for an equivalent on Windows. However, I am definitely in the market for software like Persona.
I’d like to have some kind of software for managing characters, which is what Persona does. I could make do with Scapple, but I’d rather have something close in functionality to Persona, which uses entry fields, has a names database, and has useful tropes to help develop characters. It also lets you group characters and explore how they interact with each other.
Does anyone have suggestions for a character management software on Windows? I’m looking for something either free or less than $30 for a permanent license. I’m trying to avoid web-based programs because I have trust issues Thanks!
Thank you for sharing. While these are a good place to start, I hadn’t found anything on these or similar websites for finding alternatives. Everything seems to be subscription-based or prohibitively expensive. I will keep looking, and if all else fails I will simply get the Windows version of Persona or I’ll make do with Scapple.
What I am curious about tho, seeing all those bells and whistles (I never tried any such software), is what do such a software really does that you couldn’t, in the end, achieve by simply designing your own character sheet in a table ?
(Beside making it look slick, that is.)
You’ve awaken my curiosity.
To be honest, I probably could achieve it by designing my own character sheet. I might just end up doing that - it would allow me some more customization for entry fields and I wouldn’t feel as boxed-in as I do with Persona’s use of hero/villain tropes. The nicest thing about Persona is it can help me come up with character motivations or understand how two characters might interact with each other. However, I could probably figure that out myself with a little more effort. The main issue is that I’m lazy .
After this conversation, I’m leaning more towards making character sheets in fillable PDF forms (I can make those myself) and charting out relationships on Scapple while linking to the PDF files in the chart. It might take some more work, but nothing about writing is easy, especially character management.
You could also use a Document Template in Scrivener.
I’m having the same problem with a police procedural I’m writing - too many characters to keep track of, and I really need to be able to link them to scene. A couple of months ago I started an evidence board in Excel, and then recently started another spreadsheet listing characters by scenes. Your comments about Persona prompted my interest and I went and had a look. Too expensive for me, particularly given I don’t like its use of tropes. Stumbled across yWriter which I’d looked at a couple of years ago when I was doing my early investigations into Scrivener. Still free, but its come a long way from its first iterations and it looks like I can use it to build up my characters - scene links. Particularly as it appears to allow imports nowadays.
If you create such a PDF and import it to a Scrivener project, is it then editable ?
[Edit] I just tried importing a fillable PDF to a project and it unfortunately seems like it loses its editability…
From Scrivener, you can open (and edit) the PDF in whatever external editor you used.
Personally, though, I wouldn’t use a PDF anyway. What’s the benefit if it’s a form intended for my own use?
Beside avoiding the risk of accidently messing up the sheet, none, I agree.
Or perhaps having a design that better direct the eye.
But very few advantages, yes.
As a matter of fact, for the moment my “character sheets” (because it is a stretch to even call them that) are done by hand on paper up to the point where I know my characters well enough (I am blessed with a very good memory for the details) and will not even refer to it anymore.
There is also the fact that I am a pantser and don’t plan my 2nd role characters at all – I let them reveal themselves to me as the story develops. It is good tho, pantser or not, to have somewhere to take notes in the process, and maybe further develop/deepen (even if those details only end up being implied and nothing more in the final) those characters on a subsequent draft.
So, in short, Scrivener already provides everything that’s needed, but I wouldn’t be against having a better organized character sheet, with visual cues/direction. One that I don’t really have to spend time looking for where to insert the info. (As it is now, Scrivener versus paper, I can quickly fix the paper version as regard to clarity by drawing boxes and arrows. Which is why I favor doing it on paper.)
→ When it becomes a mess, I just do a clean version and, therefor, commit most, if not all of it, to memory in the process.
Finally, I have to admit that before being curious about this thread, the thought never really crossed my mind that I needed better character sheets.
I probably don’t need it, but hey, no harm in being open to the idea.
My two cents
Had a test drive of yWriter’s character sheets and it isn’t any better than Scrivener’s (and possible worse) so its back to my MS-Access database.