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I'm writing dialog for my game in a format kind of similar to screenwriting. I have dialog, mixed with a little "action", like this:

John: Can you pass me the salt?
Sally: Sure!
ACTION: Sally passes the salt

However, I don't want to keep writing down the names like that, especially if the names change later.

I want to know if there's a software where I can just write down the dialog without the characters first, select the text, pick a character from a dropdown, which then marks the text that belongs to that character in a format where the dialog and the character saying that dialog is kept separate.

Or, alternatively, the program recognizes while I'm typing who I'm writing the dialog for (it looks for a line beginning with "John: " for example) and it automatically puts it in the right format.

I know this seems very specific, but my main concern is mainly to keep consistency between all the different dialogs and to keep character info and dialog separate.

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  • honestly, I doubt it. But that would be nice. However, it really isn't any different from writing a novel. If you do a name change, you have to search through 100,000 words for that name. This may be a hack, but a work around you can do is a find and replace. Especially if you are using word or a more formal text editor. Just type in Sally, and say find replace with Jane. – ggiaquin16 Nov 22 '17 at 16:26
  • Why do you specify "markdown" in your question title? Is the markdown language a requirement? – FraEnrico Nov 23 '17 at 8:33
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    @FraEnrico No, I'm just an ignorant idiot. :) I thought that's how those WYSIWYG-type editors are called. – noClue Nov 24 '17 at 15:30
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There's a software for screenwriting called Trelby.

It has features such as properly aligning actions, headers and lines and, what I find most useful, it remembers character names you've previously used and will auto-complete for you (maybe also locations, but I'm not 100% sure about that).

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  • This sounds like a great tool, however, OP is looking for a software that he can click on a name and change it from sally to say jane, and have that change apply throughout the whole script. Similar to a find/replace feature in word. – ggiaquin16 Nov 22 '17 at 21:46
  • Are you sure? A possible change of names seems to only a tangential preoccupation and, honestly, I have no idea why someone would write software for simply changing names. ctrl+H will solve the problem 99% of times – FFN Nov 22 '17 at 23:06
  • Yes, that's why I wrote it as a comment on the OP for him to do just that. But unless he has edited the question, that is what he was looking for at the time of my comment. – ggiaquin16 Nov 27 '17 at 15:33
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I think I know what you mean - I've found from experience that it's rather onerous having to type names and colons over and over again - it really disrupts the flow of my thoughts when I have to do that.

There are a couple of solutions that I've tried myself:

  1. I type a block of names and (if necessary) an action line and then copy and paste them several times. I then end up with a template that I can fill in without getting distracted. This generally works well if the conversation ping-pongs back and forth in a regular way. It will look like this (before it gets filled in):

John:

Sally:

ACTION:

John:

Sally:

ACTION:

  1. I use repeated characters for each name/colon/space block. For example 'John: ' would be 'jjj' and 'Sally: ' would be 'sss'. Then, when I've completed the section/scene/session I just do a find/replace (e.g. 'John: ' for 'jjj'). The beauty of this method is that 'jjj' or 'sss' is quick and easy to type and does not disturb my flow. This method is good for irregular conversations involving more than two characters. You would (prior to the find/replace) type it directly like this:

jjj Can you pass me the salt?

sss Sure

aaa Sally passes the salt

I don't know of any software that can do what you ask, but I hope that you can benefit from my experience in this matter.

Good luck going forward.

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