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I think it'd be cool if things like Characters, Settings and other key words were made into smart objects which (provided the name is recognizable/distinct from normal English words, at least via capitalization) were automatically recognized and link-ified (link would go to smart object page). Smart Objects would be color coded in the manuscript by type (IE: characters/places/ plot points). Ideally, it would also be made easier to tag and create smart objects from the manuscript itself (via right clicking). Links, color highlighting and text color of smart objects could all be hidden via the menu, and or perhaps by a simple preferences widget (this would probably be a much more organic solution, as it's more easily at hand than a menu bar, and could be auto-hidden in fullscreen mode). In addition to currently available descriptive fields, from the smart object's page you could see links to places the where object appears (a small preview window would appear on mouseover, showing the paragraphs immediately surrounding that instance of the object). Smart objects would be shared between all manuscripts in the storyist file, but could be sorted into folders (as before) to reduce clutter. A Toggle-able preference might allow repeatedly used proper nouns to be auto-tagged as smart objects, and put in an unknown objects folder for sorting, merging & classification. Additionally, links could be created between smart objects, notebook entries, and other smart objects (IE: plotting a family tree), transforming the objects into more of a conveniently interconnected wiki.
Jazz great Charles Mingus once wrote "Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple." That's also what I'm looking for in my writing software - something that makes the creative writing process simple. _________ On that note... Is there a way to create **Parallel** (i.e. multi-column, spreadsheet style) Character or Plot Outlines ? Many of you may have seen J.K. Rowling's spreadsheet-style brainstorming for the parallel plots going on in one of her Potter books. Here's the link: For brainstorming characters and plots, Rowling's multi-column/multi-column spreadsheet format makes a lot of sense to me. And I gravitate towards making similar charts when thinking about an ensemble cast of characters. For example, I'd have individual columns for NAMES, WANTS/NEEDS, PHYSICAL TRAITS, STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, JOYS, PAINS, etc. That way, you can look at ALL of your characters' main traits on *one* sheet of paper. And you can see how one character relates to the other. It helps to see the big picture. Same with J.K. Rowling's chart. Plotting the time flow of the book is useful in her spreadsheet. You see how each plot progresses from month to month or chapter to chapter. And again, it's all in ONE page. ________ If I were to create my own creative writing software - it's tempting - I would adopt this "one page" approach. At the top of the program's hierarchy, you'd have a master one sheet (in column/row format) for PLOT and then you'd have another one for CHARACTERS. Those two docs would provide your bird's eye view of everything, especially in the early stages of brainstorming. And clicking on an individual box would take you deeper into the folders/documents in your project. _______ I've still in the stage of dabbling with various writing software options. I do like a lot of what is in Storyist. But right now, my creative writing software of choice for the early stages of writing might be Omni Outliner (which is great at outlining of course but also great at columns). Or Google spreadsheets (for collaborative projects) since it's in the cloud. Combined with some kind of folder/file organization. Or maybe I'm missing something about Storyist, Scrivener, Storymill, etc? Maybe the solution is for these programs to simply add hypertextual COLUMNS to their outline views? Let me know what you think.