Help Docs

Welcome to Fictionary, we’re glad you are here!   

Evaluate your writing with a big-picture (structural) edit to ensure your story works. Big-picture editing examines the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements of Fiction and have grouped them by Character, Plot, and Setting.


 Step 1 – Have a look at the manuscript insights automatically generated by Fictionary on the Visualize Your Manuscript page.


 Step 2Organize Chapters & Scenes and confirm your manuscript imported correctly.


 Step 3Confirm Cast of Characters and have a look at the character names that were automatically identified.


 Step 4 – Start your big-picture edit by Evaluating Your Scenes against the Key Elements of Fiction. What we know provides links to the various reports for Character, Plot, and Setting. As you evaluate your scenes and capture information for each key element, these reports will help you visualize your manuscript.


 Step 5 – As you go through each scene, consider the appropriate key elements for your story. We suggest you start with the Character elements, then move on to Plot, and then Settings. As you mark scenes completed you will see your progress updated on Progress by Scene.


Fictionary is a tool for evaluating the overall structure and components of your manuscript. Currently, editing of your actual text needs to be completed in the program you use to write in. i.e. MS Word, Scrivener, etc.  We are developing an “in-app” text editing feature for Fictionary that will be available in the fall of 2017.

A few things to know before importing your manuscript:

 Your manuscript needs to be in a Microsoft Word .docx​ file.

 Each chapter needs to start with the word “Chapter​”.

 Multiple scenes within chapters need to have a scene break character ​such as * or *** between the scenes.

  • If you already have a scene break character in your manuscript, you can use that. If not, choose a scene break character that is unique in your manuscript and enter it between scenes. Do not use a scene break character at the end of a chapter or in chapters that only have one scene.

 If you have a prologue, please ensure you have the word “Prologue” on it’s own line of text in your manuscript.

 When you’ve taken care of the above, follow the 4 steps as outlined on the Import Manuscript page.

You can use the Reimport Manuscript command (found under the user icon) if your manuscript did not import correctly.

For Scrivener users, please see our handy 4 step guide to creating an MSWord .docx file.

The Rewrite Guide is your dashboard for Fictionary. From here you can navigate to all pages and see your progress through your big-picture edit/rewrite.

The main sections include:

  • Getting Started
  • Visualize Your Manuscript
  • Big-Picture Edit / Evaluate Your Scenes
  • Progress Tracking


 Progress by Scene tracks the number of scenes you have evaluated and marked as completed.


 Progress by Key Element tracks the percentage of Key Elements of Fiction that you have considered/completed.

  • For Character Elements, Fictionary automatically determines your Character List for every scene. Likewise, the POV Character is auto filled, however, it is up to you to confirm the POV Character for each scene.
  • For Plot and Setting Elements, once you input data for a particular element, the percent complete increases. To get a detailed view of your Progress by Element, click the Detailed Progress View button.


 Advanced Key Elements of Fiction enable you to take your big-picture edit to the next level.  The advanced level allows you to consider more complex aspects of your writing such as character goals, tension, conflict, backstories, and emotional impact. When selected, the Advanced Elements will appear on the Key Elements of Fiction page.

Chapters & Scenes is where you view and confirm the organization of your manuscript.

 Chapters have been created based on a scan for the word “Chapter”.

 Scenes have been created based on your scene break character.

  • Select scene 1 and verify it is the first scene in your manuscript. Note, any text before Chapter 1 can be found in the Prologue if the word “Prologue” is in your manuscript text. Then select the last scene listed and verify it  contains the end of your manuscript.
  • The number of chapters displayed should match the number of chapters in your manuscript.

 Scenes can be changed with the Split and Join buttons.

  • The Split button moves all text below the Split line to a new scene and adds a new scene number.
  • Use the Join command to join this new scene to an existing scene if desired. You can join the new scene either to the previous scene or the next scene.

If the manuscript did not import properly, then please review your DOCX file and ensure it contains the required chapter and scene break indicators. Fix it up and then use the Reimport Manuscript command.

One of the first steps to complete is to confirm your Cast of Characters. The initial list of character names has been created from a scan of your manuscript.

  • The Cast of Characters screen gives you the chance to update your character list by deleting, merging, or adding characters.
  • Fictionary automatically generates the Scenes Per Character and Characters Per Scene reports when your novel is imported. Fictionary does its best to list all of your characters and link them to scenes. For the automated reports to be valuable, the Cast of Characters must be accurate.


 Set as Single POV Character– if you’ve written your novel from a single point of view, select the checkbox next to this character name and click the “Set as Single POV” Character button.


 Add Character – if you have a character name in your manuscript that was not automatically identified, click the “Add Character” button.


 Delete Selected Characters – for incorrectly identified characters, select the check boxes next to the character names and click the “Delete Selected Characters” button.


 Merge Selected Characters – in the screen shot to the right, Amber Cristelli and Cristelli both show up. This is the same character. Merge them by selecting both names (checkboxes) and click the “Merge Selected Characters” button.


 View Character’s 1st Scene – if you’re not sure who a character is, click the “View Character’s 1st Scene” button and view the first scene that character appears in.


 Save – if you make any changes to the spelling of Character names, please click on the “Save” button.


You’ll find the Cast of Characters useful for finding typos in names, and you’ll quickly see if you’ve used character names that are too similar to one another.

When you’re happy with your Cast of Characters, go to the Visualize Your Manuscript page, and check out the Scenes Per Character and Character Per Scenes reports.

This is the heart of your structural edit. It’s where you Evaluate Your Scenes and get creative with your rewrite.

 Fictionary helps you consider and analyze your writing by providing 35 Key Elements of Fiction for Character, Plot, and Setting.  For each scene, you can evaluate your work against these elements, and determine if your story is working.

 As you capture information from your manuscript for each element, Fictionary starts building out your story structure database. You can then use the reports on the Visualize Your Manuscript page to see exactly where and how to improve your story.

  •  The text of your scene is presented in the middle for your quick reference. Note, in-app text editing is coming soon.
  • On the right, you’ll update the Key Elements of Fiction. Fictionary has automatically filled out some of the elements for you.
  • There are links you can click on, drop down menus, and text boxes that you fill out with your own words. To see the text boxes hover beside the Key Element you want to update.

 For each element, Rewrite Tips are available to explain the best way to consider and apply the element to your writing.

 The list of Key Elements expands if you are in Advanced Mode.

 The scene numbers and names are listed on the right. If the circle beside a scene turns red, you’ve updated data and need click on the Save button.

 Click on the Word Cloud to see your scene displayed as a word cloud. This will help you determine your scenes purpose by looking at the most used words.

 Click the check box beside the Scene # if you have completed working on this scene and are happy with your writing. You’re progress will be updated on the Rewrite Guide.

Visualize Your Manuscript lists a number of insights or reports that provide feedback on your manuscript. They are grouped by entire Manuscript, Plot, Character and Setting. These reports help you quickly see your story like never before.

The following reports were automatically generated by Fictionary on importing your manuscript:

  • Story Arc
  • Word Count per Scene
  • Scenes per Chapter
  • Characters per Scene
  • Scenes Per Character
  • Point of View

The following reports require you to consider and capture information from your manuscript when evaluating your scenes:

 For all reports, click on the associated Rewrite Tip for detailed explanations.

The Key Elements Per Scene and Setting Elements Per Scene change depending of whether you are working in Advanced mode or not.

©2017 Innovations Inc.

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