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Thread: Personal Wiki for your work of fiction

  1. #1
    Member KHK's Avatar
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    Personal Wiki for your work of fiction

    I am wondering if anyone uses some sort of a Wiki in their work on fictional worlds, especially if the world is wide and complex, and the dramatis personae list is rather long.

    I know some old-school folks are still using index cards (disclaimer: I am using "old-school" in a perfectly neutral sense). Which is perfectly fine, I can understand the mechanics behind that, and the charm of the tactile feeling.
    But - to each their own.
    I am more of a digital guy myself, and prefer the convenience of quick search (and occasional replace), as well as the ability to cross-reference articles via hyperlinks.

    Hence, the question is: if anyone here uses some sort of a computerized Wiki to catalog and keep track of the characters, cultures, history and geography, etc., what kind of engine / software do you utilize?

  2. #2
    Way old post now, but no participation.

    I use either spreadsheets or word documents to list characters and keep track of their roles and fates. From time to time I have a novel with so many characters the practice is self defense.

  3. #3
    I've been trying out Workflowy for this but only with shorter work so far.

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    Member KHK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxee View Post
    I've been trying out Workflowy for this but only with shorter work so far.
    Would you care elaborating a bit more on how you put it to use specifically for the writing purposes?
    I took a quick look, it seems to be a cross-breed between Visio and a mind-mapping tool.
    I use XMind to arrange all my scenes on a time line, but that's about it.
    For the characters, I've been simply using Google Docs so far. Not too terrible, but not super-convenient either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vranger View Post
    Way old post now, but no participation.

    I use either spreadsheets or word documents to list characters and keep track of their roles and fates. From time to time I have a novel with so many characters the practice is self defense.
    I hear ya.
    Excel and Word do not lend themselves for easy cross-referencing, though. So do you use them just as static, plain-text lists, more or less?

    P.S. Thanks for resurrecting this thread!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by KHK View Post
    I hear ya.
    Excel and Word do not lend themselves for easy cross-referencing, though. So do you use them just as static, plain-text lists, more or less?

    P.S. Thanks for resurrecting this thread!
    For my WIP, I have a workbook for characters: Good guys in one sheet and bad guys in another. Normally I would keep a list of characters in a Word doc, but this cast extends to more than 40 characters, most drawn from various mythologies. Not only did a spreadsheet seem like a better organizer, but I have columns that include: Hyperlink to reference material, who lives and who dies, the sex of the character, whether they have cross sympathies with the other faction, and one character on the "good guys" side is marked as a traitor. When I kill off a character, I highlight the character's row and change the text to red. I could have never made that as easy to reference quickly in a word doc.

    Just to get a feel for my progress, since I already had spreadsheets, I added a third to track dates I've started and finished each chapter, with two formula columns to track elapsed days to write the chapter, and days between finishing one chapter and starting the next. Since I am not writing full time, I find that's helped push me along if I'm about to go "over average" for either stat. LOL

    My word doc has a four paragraph treatment of the story idea, from my first notion for the book, then fourteen paragraphs where I planned the arc of the story and prospective major events. They loosely correspond to chapters in the manuscript, but not directly as it turns out ... plus I'm writing more than 14 chapters.

    At the end, I've started a short list of plot points I want to double-check on the first revision.

    I'd be interested to hear your idea on cross-referencing. The first thing that came to mind was having a character name linked from the spreadsheet to each appearance either in the plot synopsis or the manuscript. It's not something I'm using, or need for this project, but I looked and found a VBA script which will do a "Find" from a spreadsheet cell to a word document. I don't regard that as very useful, since most users would find a VBA script beyond them.

    Additionally, I'm writing my manuscript in Scrivener, so that takes my workspace away from Microsoft apps anyway.

  7. #7
    Member KHK's Avatar
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    By cross-referencing I mean achieving something like Wikipedia: you have an article for an entity, from which hypertext links lead to the related articles.
    At a minimum, you may have a certain locale, for instance, linked to all the characters living there, and the characters to each other (familial ties etc.). On top of that, you may have a synopsis of a chapter - again, with links to locales, characters, events, dates, and what not. The sky is the limit.
    If you use scrivener, you already have some of that (e.g., character/setting sketches) - but I simply couldn't bring myself to use it. I gave it a quick try and found its GUI seriously off-putting. Yes, I'm a snobbish purist

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    I used TiddlyWiki for my personal notes a long time ago. It's a html file you can edit in your navigator.

    Edit: It was better back in the days... no easy way to save the changes, now
    Last edited by Kensa; January 30th, 2021 at 06:46 AM.

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