Tinderbox Tuesday: Agents

by RS on July 17, 2013

I’m late. I’m sorry. I won’t fib, but I had some difficulty understanding the concept of an agent. After several readings, I figured it out. An agent is a persistent search tool that scans the document, like the Find feature found in the Edit menu, but unlike find which only serves for one search, agent containers remain active all the time.

In this example, we’ll create individual timelines for characters in your story. Before you do that, you’ll want to create a prototype and call it event, or scene, or chapter. You’ll also want to assign it some attributes. What I did was create notes based on the first seven chapters of the dead novel. Instead of labeling by chapter number, I gave it a brief heading, for example, “The interview.” The attributes I assigned were Who is in the chapter; the Date the scene takes place, and Where the action occurs. Once that’s done, I park those notes within another note (think macro or the entire book, containing micro or the individual chapters). If you want to put the scenes in chronological order, go to Sort and choose Date.

To create an Agent, go to the menu, select Note=>Create Agent. When that window opens, label it as that specific character’s timeline. In the field below “Query”, if you are creating individual character timelines, type in Who(Character Name).

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.44.15 PMHere’s the nifty trick to agents and the concept that they are always active: every time I continue to add more and more events for each character, the agent that serves as a timeline automatically updates itself.
That’s this week’s late lesson. Next . . . we get into the nitty-gritty of mapping out the plot and you’ll see what this mess of a story is all about.

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