Using letter codes to track inside document for writing issues

I’m a first-time writer and trying to see if people think this is a good idea and get some feedback. I’m using Dragon to dictate. I’ve used Dragon for many years as a physician. I’ve just retired and now I felt this was the time to try to write a science fiction book. And I’m trying to make sure I can find various elements that may need additional work after the first draft. I’m using the keywords to highlight foreshadowing issues and POV characters. But as my individual scenes are anywhere from 800 to 1500 words I did not want to have search through the whole scene to find the individual specific points. So I set up various lettering cues so that I could search through the documents to find a specific point where there were foreshadowing issues which would be labeled as FFxxx-with a specific lettering and then I would search later using the find and replace function to find it specifically in the document and either alter and make more obvious or less obvious based on feedback and reflection. I also had a code for Sxxx’s-which is for location details. I set this up in Dragon where you can create a nonsense word such as a unique name or specific group of letters as above and the spoken form is different. In the example above it would be FFxxx (spoken form foreshadow issue in dragon).
Do people think this is a good idea and has anybody tried anything similar and how did that work out? Thanks for any feedback.

I think this is one approach that some people do. You can put these codes and notes into Inline Annotations, which can be filtered out of the compiled document with one of the compile-time options.

Another approach, which probably wouldn’t work with Dragon, is to highlight the problem text, and use inspector comments. You can then write about what the problem is in that note, and all such notes will float to the top of the inspector. You can click on any inspector comment to scroll to the location where the relevant text is, speeding up the process of finding each problem spot.

good point as well, scrivener gives you so many approaches

Here is one thing to watch out for. While there are genuinely things you just need to flag and get back to, setting up a system for pushing things down the road may encourage you to push things down the road that you should not.

  1. Once upon a time I thought it was a fine idea to have a placeholder code for my character’s names — since I found it difficult to settle on names for characters in advance. It turns out this is a terrible idea. Naming a character is part of how you make them be someone — bring them into focus. It is a significant tool in the author’s tool kit. Who knew?!

  2. Another thing that is worth bearing in mind when you are just starting out. When you are developing a long-form work especially and repeatedly bring your imagination to the task, many possibilities and ways things could go will occur to you. You may be tempted to write these options down — to decide later. The trouble with this is that such a process produces an ever growing system of intertwined indecisions. It can get super thorny; overwhelming even. It is good to keep in mind that as you work, the possible ways your story could go should generally be getting fewer, not more plentiful. When you get it down to just one way things go, that is your story.

Okay, this is not really the sort of input you were looking for, but, well, such is my mood this morning.


p.s. I use inline annotations just as rdale suggested for you. While I have been known to invent code tags for things, anymore I don’t find I need them — it is easy to find my inline annotations (they really stand out) and it is easy enough to briefly flag what the issue is.

If you are a practiced Dragon user, that is good. I used Dragon for a time years back, but I was never satisfied with the workflow when used for fiction-writing in particular. I also consider Dragon dangerous as a general composition tool. Since you cannot disable its text manipulation commands it can far too easily launch into a seek and overwrite mode. If you are dictating long streams of text you may not notice for some time that it has misplaced itself and you have been overwriting your own text for some time.

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If overwriting text is a danger with Dragon, but you still want to try using it, then get familiar with Snapshots and how to manage them. Taking frequent snapshots can bloat the size of your project, but that beats loosing hundreds to thousands of words…

I use speech pro 6 which upgrades the dragon dictation box and modified a command to do a command and paste that matches might default text style. This add on makes the dictation box more stable and dictate in box then paste into scrivener. You can dictate directly but cannot use select and correction commands. I try to do 1 scene at a time, add in the notes section for one off cardboard characters and put notes to amend later for rewrites and decisions on details. I try to keep scenes 600 to 1500 words. Again trying to find my way. I had the advantage of using dragon to dictate for years as a physician so made the transition easier.

I second the suggestion to use inspector comments. I’m a screenwriter, and I use this whenever I have to rewrite a script written by another writer. Once you get a workflow you’re confortable with, adding comments is very fast, and you get a nice visual overview of what needs fixing in the document. You can also color-code the document so you can focus on what kind of notes you want to address.

I think you could probably use Dragon, once you’d clicked in the comments box in the inspector.

As an experiment, you might try typing a scene instead of using Dragon. The mental process is different. Even if you hunt and peck, you might find that you prefer the way your imagination works when typing, Everyone’s process is different, but experimentation can lead to workflow improvements.

GoalieDad needs letter codes or some such, because the Dragon process they are pursuing means their dictated text is going into a Dragon text box, not into the Scrivener editor. So, while you can control an app with verbal commands, no verbal Scrivener commands (such as might get them into inspector comments or inline annotation mode) will help them.

Will try doing comments as well as sync to issue spot. The tedium of typing would stifle flow. Dictating allows the words to flow much more easily without fatigue