I started today by building my new concordance. I combined all the Robert E Howard Conan stories into a single text file, and cleaned them up a bit in Word.
The text came to 1143 pages of plain text.
This is where it started to go wrong. Word doesn’t play well with very long documents.
The first time I tried to search it, it broke. Word has a hard limit on how many search results it can handle, and I obviously exceeded that.
So My idea of using Word was a non-starter.
Next, I installed AntConc. This is a specialist concordance tool. At first it appeared promising. It gobbled up the text without a problem and it is wonderfully fast to search it.
In this text I have replaced the name Conan with Cedric, which is my character’s name. I was thinking that any reference to Cedric would relate to my character, all the other named characters would be the NPC(s) in the solo game.
This is not really the output I was hoping for.
This raises a question. AntConc was recommended for exactly this, solo roleplaying, purpose. If I am not getting what I hoped for, are my expectations wrong?
In the meantime, I have sucked all the texts into Access. Using some simple queries, I have an inelegant but functional result. This is what I was hoping to get from Word.
I know that I could develop this concordance tool further, make the searching easier to use, rather than editing the query each time, or building up a body of queries for the most commonly used ones.
What I am lacking is a clear idea of how I am supposed to use this tool. Now I am on the cusp of being able to non-author solo, I realise I don’t know what I am doing!
Inför döden är vi alla ensamma (We die alone)
The contrast is that I smashed together a set of solo rules this week, just for myself. It took an afternoon to get some lists and tables together in Excel. Then over the weekend, I made it look kind of crazy cool, like the Mörk Borg core book.
I was still adventuring in the Hyperborean world, but I was up and running in a couple of hours. It is very easy to retreat into what you know, your safe place. I really want to give this non-authoring solo a chance. I am just not sure how to get going and at what point the Mörk Borg rules kick in, and how much is non ruled narrative.
My learning experience continues…