Nearly every good story begins with characters, a spark of inspiration about a person’s life that you’re excited to explore. The thing about writing within a complex science fiction or fantasy world is there are often more characters than you as a writer can keep track of without family tree maps and complicated DNA charts.
Maybe you’ve got a three-ring binder, complete with tabs breaking down each family and their tangled relationships and ties. Maybe it’s even organized in such a way that all you need to do is flip through a few dozen pages of handwritten text to find exactly what it is you’re looking for, but if you’re anything like me (the perpetually disorganized organizer) you probably don’t want to spend precious writing time thumbing through pages and trying to decipher your own handwriting.
One of the most convenient things about the Archivos Story App is that it allows you to input all the details you’d add to the pages of your three-ring story binder and easily recall them with a few keystrokes. You can document characters, organizations, and other cultural groups, define the unique relationships between those elements, and assign images and avatars to each that distinguish them from one another. Now, you can easily determine the character relationships at a glance before embarking on that intergalactic wedding you’ve been planning!
Adding Characters to Archivos
Once you’ve established your main story setting in Archivos, and you’re ready to begin adding characters to your world, head over to the left side toolbar and click on the icon for your current world setting.
Clicking the identifiable icon you chose opens your world setting and allow you to begin adding New Story Elements.
In the left corner of the world setting, just below your icon, you will see +Add Element. Clicking on this opens a brand new, blank element you can begin filling in with details and information about the character. The following options are available to you.
Avatar: In the upper left corner of your character element you will note the option to add a specific avatar no larger than 5MB that will identify your character. This is a great place to add a small image of your character so you can easily identify them. In this instance, I’m using the avatar function to distinguish several different factions, races, or houses, as it makes it easier for me to identify characters who’ve been catalogued together under the same Avatar.
Element Name: This is where you’ll name your character.
Private Notes: Here you can add any side notes about this particular character that only you will see.
Element Type: From the dropdown menu, you’ll have several options to choose from, including Character, Location, Region, Organization, Item, Event, Race, Discipline. You’re going to want to choose the Character Element Type.
Status: You will need to choose a status before you can save your Element. I tend to work in the “Private” status until I’m ready to start sharing details about my current project, but if you have no issues sharing your ongoing work, you can go ahead and choose the “Public” status.
Gender: Each Story Element has unique properties by which you can customize the element. For Character, you can choose your character’s gender from the dropdown box.
Short Description: This section puts your character into your world. Is she a general? A noble? A ship captain? You’ve got 500 characters to work with here, so you want to succinctly identify the character without going into too much detail.
Image: If you’ve got the perfect piece of artwork that identifies your character, you can upload that image in the box to the right of the Element Name.
Long Description: With 10,000 characters at your disposal, you have a bit more room to expand upon your shorter description, describing the character and giving a bit of their history so you can easily access it later.
Related Links: Below your Long Description you can add clickable links like YouTube videos, wiki pages, etc., that may lead to more information about your character. For example, if you’re writing within a shared universe, you may link to racial or class information for easy access.
Once you’re finished, don’t forget to click Save and then Publish Changes in the upper righthand corner. There’s nothing more distressing than losing your information after you put all that time and effort into organizing it.
The First Thread Has Been Woven
If you chose the Public setting for your story and your character, it will appear on the Story Catalog page. Click the image for your story and you’ll find yourself on the landing page, complete with your character’s details beneath the Featured Story Elements header.
Hover your mouse over your chosen character image and click to open your character’s story element. If you chose an avatar to identify your character, it will appear above the character’s name in the center of the screen. Clicking the profile button in the upper righthand corner will open an introductory character profile. You can also arrive on this page by clicking the Story Web tab.
From here you can view your profile for the character you just added, as well as any relationships you’ve added. We will explore relationships and connects in our next blog, but for now let’s take a look at the profile view for our first character.
Choosing the option to “Show full profile” will expand the window to reveal all the details you added when building your character’s profile.
Archivos Is Your Story Bible
With your first character added into the Archivos app, you’ve taken the first steps toward organizing your personal story bible and making all those details available at the convenient swipe of a fingertip. Before you know it, you’ll be able to tuck that three-ring binder of yours into the shelf and forget about it because thanks to Archivos you’re not going to need it anymore!