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Contextual insertion of character names

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When you start typing in a character name a list of available characters should appear, like when you start searching in a major search engine. You can either select a name from the list or keep typing if you like. The names should link back to your character pages. If you type in a new character name, you should be able to highlight the name and right click>choose Add new character and a new character sheet would open for you with that name.

 

Of course the same could be done for places, backgrounds etc.

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When you start typing...

Nice one. A bit like what happens when you type something into the Amazon search field.

Seconded.

- Thoth

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When you start typing in a character name a list of available characters should appear, like when you start searching in a major search engine. You can either select a name from the list or keep typing if you like. The names should link back to your character pages. If you type in a new character name, you should be able to highlight the name and right click>choose Add new character and a new character sheet would open for you with that name.

 

Of course the same could be done for places, backgrounds etc.

Do you mean you want this to happen every time you type a character's name in the manuscript? Because it already happens in the sheets. (And you can make it happen by defining a custom field as character, setting, etc.) Typing a new character's name in a character field also creates a new character sheet with that name. Same for setting, plot points, etc.

 

If you do mean in the manuscript, I can see a couple of problems with the implementation. There would have to be a way to hide the links before printing, unless you really want to see every character's name underlined in blue every time it appears. And since characters' names appear often, there would be a danger of slowing the program to a crawl (which already happens in the sheets in large manuscripts, leading to unwanted character sheets created because Storyist couldn't keep up with the typing). And suppose your character's name is Jacob Finch but some people refer to him as Jacob, some as Jake, some as Dr. Finch, etc. You could end up with a lot of sheets for the same person.

 

No harm in asking, though. And I can certainly see the utility of being able to add a character (setting, whatever) sheet from the manuscript by highlighting and choosing from the contextual menu. Good idea.

Best,

Marguerite

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I think there are two feature requests here.

 

The first feature request is a kind of auto-completion feature. (There is no reason this needs to be limited to character names.) A full-bodied version of this would be similar to Word's AutoText feature. A simpler but very useful, universal auto-completion feature can be found in the product called TypeIt4Me that allows you to create a table of abbreviations and whatever-you-want-them-to-mean. This might solve your character name typing problem, as well as a frequent phrase problem, etcetera. Given that there are such products out there I have to wonder if Steve wants to reproduce them. But it would be cool.

 

The second feature request is a fast way of bringing up an existing or blank data sheet. To be blunt, this process is already pretty fast. But, as suggested, this is really just a few options added to a ctrl-click pop-up menu. If the highlighted word or phrase exists as the name of a data sheet, it is displayed. If not, a short list of possible data sheet types (Character, Setting, etc.) is displayed. One type is chosen and a blank version of that type is displayed with the highlighted text as its name.

 

After reading M's post it occurs to me that I might not understand what you mean. If so, please elaborate.

- Thoth.

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When you start typing in a character name a list of available characters should appear, like when you start searching in a major search engine. You can either select a name from the list or keep typing if you like. The names should link back to your character pages. If you type in a new character name, you should be able to highlight the name and right click>choose Add new character and a new character sheet would open for you with that name.

 

Have you tried word completion? If you start typing a word and press Escape, a pop-down list will appear with suggestions. This is not context specific like you requested, but it may help until something more advanced is available.

 

IF

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Yes! Word Completion also brings up Character names (along with every other qualifying word in the file and the Dictionary) so, potentially, it solves much of the first half of your Request. Personally, I find TypeIt4Me more useful but Word Completion works pretty well (though it can be quirky in different applications BE WARNED!). And it has the advantage of your already having it.

 

- Thoth.

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Yes! Word Completion also brings up Character names (along with every other qualifying word in the file and the Dictionary) so, potentially, it solves much of the first half of your Request. Personally, I find TypeIt4Me more useful but Word Completion works pretty well (though it can be quirky in different applications BE WARNED!). And it has the advantage of your already having it.

 

Instead of TypeIt4Me, you could just program those abbreviations into Vim or Emacs.

 

Steve, how's that Vim integration coming? ;)

 

IF

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Instead of TypeIt4Me, you could just program those abbreviations into Vim or Emacs.

 

IF

Sure...if by "you" you mean "someone who wants to work in the Vim text editor".

I think we should think about this some more.

- Thoth.

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Sure...if by "you" you mean "someone who wants to work in the Vim text editor".

 

Are you implying that anyone would not?

 

IF

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Are you implying that anyone would not?

 

IF

Command lines instead of a GUI? I do so imply, sir.

- Thoth.

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Have you tried word completion? If you start typing a word and press Escape, a pop-down list will appear with suggestions. This is not context specific like you requested, but it may help until something more advanced is available.

 

As Isaac (correctly) points out, you can use manual completion (via the Escape key) to complete a character name.

 

And if you're writing a screenplay, the character names auto-complete when you're in the character style. The problem with novel manuscripts is that there isn't a well-defined context for character names. There are a couple of solutions for this:

  • Use regular expression (pattern matching) to determine when you're typing dialog and offer completions when you're near "said" or "asked" or some other item. e.g. "Holy Handcuffs Batman!" exclaimed.
  • Always auto-complete character (and setting? and plot?) names in text, maybe after 2 or 3 character to reduce the false match annoyance.

 

Both have their drawbacks.

 

As Marguerite points out, the second part of the request involves an option to turn off the link indicators when printing.

 

-Steve

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Wow, thanks everyone for the active discussion! I have not been back here in a while because typically these types of forums get one or two responses and then months go by waiting for the application designer to get back. I am seriously impressed with the feedback and I 'm glad my idea has had some consideration by the comunity.

 

To those who offered alternatives and help understanding the finer operation of Storyist thank you.

 

I have never written any type of story or manuscript before but Storist has seriously helped me organize. Thank you Steve for making a real robust (and reasonably priced) help for the disorganized and impoverished writer like me.

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