The Characters section is where you can create and keep track of your cast of characters, using visuals and prompts to bring them to life.
You can view all of your characters as a group, and you can open up individual characters to view and edit them in great depth and detail.
Character Cards Overview
When you first go to the Characters section, the main area shows an overview of all your characters.
Each character is represented by a card, which comprises an image and a brief description.
These character cards can be dragged and dropped to reorder them.
To change the character image, you simply hover over it, and then click. Then you can choose an image from your computer.
To make further edits to the character’s details, you can hover over the card to make the context menu button appear. Click that, then click ‘Open’.
Or alternatively you can double click the character card to open it.
To delete a character, hover over the card until the context menu button appears, then click ‘delete’.
On the left hand side of the Characters section is a Character List.
This list can be hidden by clicking the littel tab towards the bottom – or if you can’t see the Characters list, you may need to click the little tab towards the bottom left to open it.
This shows a list of the names of all of the characters that have been created in this novel.
If you click on one of the names in the list, it will open up the details for that character.
Each character can be developed in great detail.
Open up a character by double clicking the card, choosing ‘Open’ from the context menu or clicking the name in the Character List on the left.
Once you’re in character details, the Character List will still be on the left. If you’d like more room, you can use the little tab towards the bottom of the list to hide it. The same tab can be used to open it again.
The Character List can be used to quickly jump between characters without having to go back to the Character Cards Overview.
However, if you do wish to go back to the Character Cards Overview, you can do this by clicking the little ‘grid’ icon found towards the top of the Character List.
With the Character Details you can find panels for the following:
- Basic Info
- Character Viewpoint Synopsis
- Physical Appearance
- Friends and Family
- Past and Future
- Love and Relationships
- Word, Education and Hobbies
- Daily Life
Editing Character Details Panels
The panels have been designed in a way to try to offer a depth of prompts and guidance, but while keeping the interface as uncluttered as possible. Here is how we’ve done that.
Most of the panels will initially show you a title, and display a list of the questions which can be found within that panel.
To edit the details of the panel, hover over it and an edit button will appear. Click that button to go into edit mode.
Once you’re in edit mode, the same questions will appear that you saw in view mode, but with spaces to enter your data for that character.
The fields can be expanded by dragging down the bottom rigth hand corner of any given field.
At any point while editing a panel, you can use the buttons at the bottom to discard your changes, save your progress without closing the popup, or save your data and close the popup.
You can enter data for all of the questions, or just a few, as suits you. Once you’re done, click ‘Save and Close’.
When you have entered and saved the data, what the panel displays changes slightly.
Now, instead of showing a list of all of the questions, it only shows the ones you’ve entered data for.
This helps keep the display as streamlined and uncluttered as possible.
However, the questions that you didn’t enter data for are not lost. At any time, you can return to edit mode and all of the questions for that panel will be available.
Editing the Gallery
The gallery works a little differently to the standard panels, for obvious reasons.
If you have added an image to the character card from the character cards overview, then this will automatically be added to the gallery.
To add another image to the gallery, hover over the gallery panel, then click the ‘+’ button which appears.
You can change the main image for a character – this is the one which appears on the character card. To do this, hover over the image you’d like to set as the main image. Click the contect menu button (three vertical dots) which appears.
Click ‘Set as main image’.
You can delete an image by hovering over it, clicking the context menu button and clicking ‘delete image’.
Character Viewpoint Synopsis
The Character Viewpoint Synopsis panel also works a little differently from the standard panels, so we’ll explain that here. You should also check out the Roadmap article ‘Character Viewpoint Synopses’ for more guidance relating to craft and character, rather than practical use of the software.
A Character Viewpoint Synopsis is where you follow through your story from the point of view of the characters who are not the main character (or not any of the point-of-view characters, if you’re doing multiple POVs).
This can be incredibly useful for adding depth and realism to your story, as well as creating deeper characters and relationships and offering opportunities for conflict you may not have considered.
The Novel Factory aides you in creating these character viewpoint synopsis. To complete one, choose a character and go into their details.
Find the panel called Character Viewpoint Synopsis and hover over it to make the edit button appear. Click that button.
A large popup will appear. On the left is a column containing all the Index Cards of your plot. On the right of each of the Index Cards is a space where you can enter text.
In each of these fields, you simply describe the events of the scene, from the point of view of the selected character.
When you’re done, click ‘save changes’ and you will return to the main character details view, where you can read the synopses you have written.
As with the standard panel, in order to keep the interface clean and uncluttered, once you have entered some data, the software only displays the parts you have completed. However, you can access all of the hidden fields by going back into edit mode.
Customising the Panel Display
There are a lot of panels, we know. And we understand how important an uncluttered interface is to creative flow.
So you can hide or show the various panels as suits you.
To do this, look for the little down arrow button which can be found at the top right of the main area.
Click on that arrow and a list will appear which shows all of the available panels, next to a green tick checkbox.
To hide a panel, uncheck the box
Note – Basic Details, Gallery, and Character Viewpoint Synopses are non-standard panels and cannot be hidden.
The related info side panel can be opened by clicking on the little tab towards the bottom right of the screen. It can be tucked out of the way by clicking on the same tab.
This panel shows all associated information for the selected character.
You can link character to scenes, location, items, notes and other characters.
Linking Related Info (characters, locations, items, scenes and notes)
To link something, click the little chain link icon towards the top right of the Related Info panel. This will expand the ‘link something’ field. (This ‘link something’ field may already be visible if you have opened it before).
Click where it says ‘link something’, and a list of all the available things to the linked will appear.
Select the desired item and click on it to link it to the selected character.
Filtering the Related Info
You can use the icons in the toolbar to filter which related info is visible in the Related Info sidebar.
When all the icons are set to visible, all related info will be shown. However, you can choose to temporarily hide specific sections of the related info as follows:
When you click on one of those icons, a strikethrough will appear over it. This indicates that the related info from that section (i.e. locations) is now hidden.