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codemer

Crossing the book boundary

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Storyist provides a great facility for tracking characters, settings, and other information for my current book. I have a couple of requests to add value to this feature.

 

Time line. I would love an easy way to associate characters and plot points with a visual time line. A time line helps me maintain story consistency.

 

Support for series. Jumping between two manuscripts in a series, I have the challenge of keeping track of overlapping information for each book. A simple work around may be to import the information from one book into another, but this becomes problematic when work on the books overlaps, and key bits of information can change. I think a good solution for this would be to put the characters, settings, and notes into a stand alone database. Additionally, the current support for linking should be able to extend into this secondary source.

 

Hope that's not too big a request. :)

 

Thanks,

IF

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A formal, integrated timeline function is a wonderful idea! And I can see it extending for both plot and characters. I've been putting date stamps (and sometimes time stamps) in Plot notes, but I find that it's very useful to have a history (with time and date stamps) associated with each character as well. Unfortunately, the minutiae of each character's life can quickly get out of hand. If you're not careful you find yourself rewriting the entire manuscript in bullet format.

 

I agree that being able to import data from one book to another is a good solution for series support, or even just using the same character again (with some modifications) in a different story. But I think that the database solution is overkill. I imagine that you're envisioning a database keyed on both sheet type (Character, Setting, etcetera) and story name (World's Greatest Story Volume 1, Volume 2, etcetera). It seems to me that this could be done more effectively from within Storyist with a Style Sheet specifically devoted to this serial information; but, still, I have to wonder if all this data could simply be exported to FileManager.

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I agree that being able to import data from one book to another is a good solution for series support, or even just using the same character again (with some modifications) in a different story. But I think that the database solution is overkill. I imagine that you're envisioning a database keyed on both sheet type (Character, Setting, etcetera) and story name (World's Greatest Story Volume 1, Volume 2, etcetera). It seems to me that this could be done more effectively from within Storyist with a Style Sheet specifically devoted to this serial information; but, still, I have to wonder if all this data could simply be exported to FileManager.

 

What do you think about scaling down my request to simply being able to add a link between .story files? Since you can have several stories open at a time, this should be within reach. I imagine that would be a much simpler compromise.

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Hmm. Scale down to a link to a .story file? Sounds like something that could be implemented in Links (see Storyist Help). But if you're going that way, why not merge it with bookmarks (see my Forum Request). Such links could appear along with bookmarks in the Project Pane. :)

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I set up a new topic for the timeline discussion; I'd like to track it separately because I think it will generate some interesting discussion.

 

As for the series question: this is something I've been considering for a while: How could J.K. Rowling use Storyist for Harry Potter? (I know, bad example; the point is about to become moot.)

 

I agree with Isaac that simply importing other data would be less than ideal; for sanity's sake you really want only one copy of the data. As he suggested, I could allow links between documents or to individual external resources (or collections of resources). This is a little more challenging than it looks on the surface because you have to decide what to use as a URL. A file: URL? What if the document/resource moves? A special protocol (e.g. storyist:) that includes a universal ID? That is a cleaner solution (all documents opened with version 1.2 or later will have unique IDs), but that means building something to catalog all the documents or story resources on the system. I think I can put Spotlight to work on this, but I don't have a clear picture in my head yet of all the pitfalls.

 

Another option would be:

 

* Allow more than one manuscript per story file. That way, all links are within the same document.

 

The solution to this problem (whatever it ends up being) will affect--and be affected by--the design of collaboration features, which is something I've got in the back of my head for 2.0.

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Another thought, how would series support be integration with timeline support (see Timeline feature request forum entry).

 

Since you brought it up, I've already heard rumors (attributed to J.K. Rowling herself) about a Harry Potter 8. This volume would be more of a Harry Potter encyclopedia/glossary, defining characters and spells and such. Clearly, J.K.R. could have used Storyist (with series support) for that!

 

Which brings up another thought: See Props Support in feature request forum.

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Being able to have multiple manuscripts of a series in a single file and hold full character photo collages are the only two features that force me to use Scrivener. I like the way Storyist works. In every other aspect it surpasses Scrivener. But I am writing a fantasy series for children, which is so much easier in Scrivener right now. I look forward to seeing how you implement this, as it will be the driving force behind my conversion.

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Being able to have multiple manuscripts of a series in a single file and hold full character photo collages are the only two features that force me to use Scrivener. I like the way Storyist works. In every other aspect it surpasses Scrivener. But I am writing a fantasy series for children, which is so much easier in Scrivener right now. I look forward to seeing how you implement this, as it will be the driving force behind my conversion.

 

Hi all.

 

Being able to access all the "Sheets" and "Pictures" across Storyist files has been an issue for a while now. I handle it (sort of) by keeping multiple Storyist files/windows open at the same time. But that isn't really the best way to handle it. I think what we're talking about (what I'm talking about, anyway) is a common repository for Data Sheets. After all, calling up multiple files is easy. Tying them together takes imagination. (As evidence, consider Microsoft Word's solution: The Master Document. People just use it to combine chapter files with glossary files and such. It's more of a printing solution than a information retrieval solution.)

 

So let us knock around just what a "series" document should look like. Any thoughts?

-Thoth.

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The best I can do is give the workflow I use in Scrivener. After creating all of my character, thread, and section information, I then move to the novel part. My current Scrivener series file has the following folder structure for the actual book: A series folder, within which is contain one folder for each book, within which is a folder for each chapter, within which are the written sections.

 

The one problem with the above approach is that you end up with a long list of files. I can collapse folders, but for a 10-book series (my current project), there are still so many elements in the project pain that they don't fully fit on my 13" MacBook--scrolling is just annoying).

 

So here is a similar idea that just occurred to me. What if everything look exactly as it does for a single book project, but the folder that the manuscript is contained in becomes a drop-down list when there are multiple books (or a drop-down list in another location). I can add an additional book with a button, just as with anything else. I see no reason not to put each manuscripts in a single project.

 

To address how series applies to other elements, I will address Character Sheets. Within a Character Sheet, I have the section for plot points. The Plot Points are no longer simply listed, but are split up by the book they belong to.

 

I think the information has to be in the same project. A drop-down menu for switching between novels is the best idea that comes to me at the moment. It is simple. The search would have to search everything though, and when you have your results, clicking on one contained in another manuscript would automatically switch the selected manuscript.

 

I tend to throw ideas out without fully thinking them through, but I figure they are better up here where people can tear them apart and take any merits that might be found within.

 

BT

 

Hi all.

 

Being able to access all the "Sheets" and "Pictures" across Storyist files has been an issue for a while now. I handle it (sort of) by keeping multiple Storyist files/windows open at the same time. But that isn't really the best way to handle it. I think what we're talking about (what I'm talking about, anyway) is a common repository for Data Sheets. After all, calling up multiple files is easy. Tying them together takes imagination. (As evidence, consider Microsoft Word's solution: The Master Document. People just use it to combine chapter files with glossary files and such. It's more of a printing solution than a information retrieval solution.)

 

So let us knock around just what a "series" document should look like. Any thoughts?

-Thoth.

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I want this too! I think the drop down menu would be most ideal.

 

Something like this:

 

Big Project >

----Book One >

---------Manuscript >

--------------Chapter One >

----------------Section 1

----------------Section 2

----Book Two >

----Book Three >

 

 

That would be very, very useful. I tried to do a work around for that, but it didn't work too well. :)

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I tried to do a work around for that, but it didn't work too well. :)

Storyist doesn't really seem to be set for it yet. You can fool around with Styles; turning Chapters into Books and Sections into Chapters. I tried that as an experiment but I didn't care for the results. What did you try?

-Thoth.

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What did you try?

-Thoth.

 

Same thing. It messed up my word count, which is why it didn't work for me. (I wish I had 60k already!)

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I want this too! I think the drop down menu would be most ideal.

 

Something like this:

 

Big Project >

----Book One >

---------Manuscript >

--------------Chapter One >

----------------Section 1

----------------Section 2

----Book Two >

----Book Three >

 

 

That would be very, very useful. I tried to do a work around for that, but it didn't work too well. sleep.gif

 

 

I would like to know if this ever got implemented. I think it sounds like a very good structural tool.

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Hi Sherry,

 

You can set up the structure however you like. There are a number of templates in the Sharing section that show how to do this.

 

-Steve

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