Tagging things

Classifying things is important – everything has it’s place. But when we say tagging we want it to be more than that. We want the tags you apply to chapters/scenes/notes to be useful for searching for things, or for ordering workflows or visualising frequency of location or characters or maybe mood?

So we want your thoughts on tagging. We may not be able to build it all now – in fact it will definitely come in a series of Tagging v1/v2/v3 etc – but lets get brainstorming how we could do tagging really well.

Some suggestions already (these from Bruce):

  • Please don’t limit it to chapters. Tagging notes would be essential as well.
  • The ability to search and not just filter would be useful.
  • Tagging with character/location/mood
  • Tagging with workflow status: draft/final edit/idea stage?
  • Ability to order by tag? Filter by tag? Search by tag?

What do you think?


This feature is in the pipeline!


13 replies
  1. Graham Brand
    Graham Brand says:

    I think that freeform tagging would ultimately be the most useful, and the most in keeping with the look and feel of Novlr. That way there’d be a single tag list against the chapter and note elements, rather than a set of fields with drop downs. It would also give us complete flexibility to create our own tags as required.

    It would be vital that the search and filter functions also allow you to search by tags that are not included. I’d often want to search for chapters without a particular tag (or tags) set, if only to apply one.

    It’s also important that the search and filter functions work by whole tag, and not simply by text. Otherwise you’d also return all instances of, say, ‘female’ when you were searching for ‘male’.

    I think ideally each novel should have its own taxonomy, though I can see the benefits of having a single tag vocabulary at the user level. I don’t think the taxonomy should be Novlr-wide (if this is being considered). It might be helpful to have a preference where a user’s default tag list could be set, which would be applied to all novels (both new ones and also when an existing novel is opened if a new default tag has been added).

    When entering tags in the field for the particular chapter or note they’d autocomplete based on the tag vocabulary for the novel, with each new tag created being added.

    It would be nice if there was an option to highlight chapters and notes with the selected tag, rather than search to or filter by them. For example, I’d like to be able to highlight a chapter list or storyboard by POV character and see them in a different shade from the rest so that I can check for balance.

    I’d like it to be easy to toggle the visibility of the tag list (hotkey as well as preference?) so that it isn’t distracting when not required.

  2. Graham Brand
    Graham Brand says:

    It would be good if we could apply tags not just to chapters and notes, but to sections of highlighted text within the novel.

    For example, let’s say I have a faction called the Reds. Each time I write some new snipped about the Reds I could select it and apply the tag ‘Reds’. It would be great if searching or reporting on that tag would then produce a document containing all the separate snippets of text that were tagged ‘Reds’ for me to review or print.

    That would make it easy to check all the references for inconsistencies or information.

    This tagging method could work for characters, factions, locations, items, plot elements, even timeline events.

    The tag report could be a separate document generated when you search for the tag, or perhaps a note that got updated dynamically as you write.

    • Clare
      Clare says:

      Thanks for taking the time with all your awesome suggestions Graham. We are really grateful for all your support in advancing Novlr!

  3. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I like the ideas of being able to develop our own tags and to be able to do it by specifying/highlighting so you could keep track of information that falls under a particular name or tag, even if the specific tag name was not used in that instance. It would also be wonderful if you could somehow tag multiple things, so that you could search for say, every scene with Arthur and Merlin, or Arthur and Excalibur and Lancelot, or Arthur and Camelot and Guinevere.

  4. Julian
    Julian says:

    This would be useful mostly if there’d be as little manual effort as possible, seeing as that’s often a huge distraction from your writing. For example, once the program knows the characters or locations within a story, it’d be brilliant if it could automatically tag (or suggest a tag) for the characters in a scene, or the locations, or whatever other information people might consider relevant. Especially if this is well-integrated with the character profiles, that could be quite convenient. Entire feature is not a top priority for me, though.

    • Clare
      Clare says:

      Thanks for your great suggestions Julian. automatic tagging would be an amazing feature! We always try and go for the option that is the least distracting and simple as that is what we are all about. :)

    • Judith Ring
      Judith Ring says:

      It would be helpful for me to have at least the characters and locations as I start with any name just to get the character down on paper. Often the name doesn’t fit what I want to show in that character. When I think of the one I want, I need to be able to change all forms of that character’s or place’s name. I.e., I started with an actual town in mind. Halfway through the novel, I decided I’d be better off with a fictional town since I was going to tweak the history a bit. Now I have to find every instance of that town’s name, whether it’s town, town’s, or any other form. Search doesn’t usually find all forms, only the exact form I typed in.

  5. Arnoud
    Arnoud says:

    What would be awesome with tagging if you could add a value to the combination of a tag and a scene/chapter/paragraph. That way we could track tension across arcs and through lines. E.g. a tag called Jack & Jill’s relation could have a score of 5 in one scene, 15 in the next all the way up to, say, 100. If Novlr could show this graphically, we would be able to quickly identify if we place things out of sequence and get weird spikes or valleys in the actual relationship. We could do this for all kinds of tensions we want to keep “whole” across our novels.

  6. cassandra dupree
    cassandra dupree says:

    I would like to tag a highlighted section specifically for rewrite or review if i am just not satisfied with it. Then once i have moved on i can easily return later, find the review tag and carry on.

    • Clare
      Clare says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Cassandra. It’s great to hear that this feature would be useful to you. It’s also useful to hear how our users would use it so we can build the best version :)

  7. Derek G
    Derek G says:

    I could see this being very useful for character dialog. Sometimes I don’t have a character’s voice until I’m a few chapters in. I wish I could look at all of the lines of dialog spoken by a character and unify the way he or she talks throughout the book as I get a better sense for what a character’s voice is.

    • Derek G
      Derek G says:

      Although, I will also point out that it would be much better if it could be handled automatically. Sometimes when I have writer’s block, I get distracted perfecting things like this when I really just need to be writing. Even if I could just type a hashtag like #AlbusDumbledore and get a few options? That could also get in the way though. Anyway, just throwing things out. :)

  8. Andrew Stone
    Andrew Stone says:

    For me, this would be the most useful if ever tag was assigned a folder in the notes section and all paragraphs that received the tag were automatically put in that folder. It would make for faster referencing and would make it much easier to keep track of plot threads and which characters are involved in them.


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