Working Character Driven Plot in Scrivener

Hi there,

This is an open question and I’d like your thoughts.

If you’re a plotter you’re probably like me and divide your story into the three acts and start working up the content by plot, pinch points etc… Ascribing character actions/reactions. What I’d like to hear is if you’ve got a complex story what method do you use to keep track of who said what and to whom?

I use the synopsis search method to keep tabs on the different characters, but it’s not always successful when you want to drill down into the character and normally end up rereading the whole text. Does anyone out there have a better method?

Some choices:

  1. Memory, supported by revisions and re-writes.

  2. Tagging each scene with the names of key characters who appear in it, so that you can search for consistency later.

  3. Setting up a separate Notes folder outside the Draft folder, with individual sub-folders titled with the names of each major character, and copies of significant dialogue exchanges placed in each as appropriate.

I prefer (1), because if your story is so complex that you can’t recall who said what and to whom, what hope is there of your readers doing so? (But I have done (3).)

I just want to add to what I’ve said, to make myself more explicable.

I can also search using Point Of View and that works quite well, but you want to make sure, well I do, that all of your enactments are also being satisfactorily, and logically concluded.

I just want to add that I find Scrivener fantastic and I don’t know of any other software which gives you these endless possibilities for tailoring the way you approach to crafting a novel in quite the same way.

I love reading and writing. There is nothing I’d rather do all day, but I’m handicapped by poor memory retention as a result of a car crash a few years ago.

I’m getting the vague impression, from your questions & followup, that you’re really talking about subplots. A theme, argument, object, or other smaller development (such as a romantic sub-plot) goes through its paces, but is not addressed in every scene of the book. My suggestion is to create metadata fields for each such sub-plot/whatever you call it. Whenever a scene touches on that subplot, succinctly hint at/describe how that subplot progresses (or is set back) in that scene. What you’ll end up with is a sparsely populated series of notes across many documents, which can be viewed in the outliner. You can then get the gist of each plot from the outline, and only dip into the text if the note isn’t detailed enough for whatever you need.

Thank you for coming up with considerations I hadn’t thought of before.