A way to outline re: topic?

Have patience with me! I’ve searched the forum, and most questions and replies are too advanced for me. I’ve viewed some tutorials (helpful). I’ve checked the manual, but it’s all too much information for me at this point.
I need to organize as follows.
I have some source manuscripts in research.
I have an in progress manuscript as well.
I have the newer text, from source manuscripts, which I am editing. Once edited, it will be added to the in progress manuscript.

I have been attempting to organize topics in order to see:

  1. Whether a particular topic, “fame,” “Maggie”, has been mentioned before in the in progress manuscript.
    (a.)And I need to see all the mentions of that particular topic as an outline or corkboard card with a real synopsis, more than just the first line.

  2. I need to see all the mentions of the topic in the source manuscripts, with details, ditto.

I realize I need to do a search for keywords in both the in progress manuscripts and in the source manuscripts. And I’ve done that, and put the results of those searches in folders, with their topic names. But once that is done, how can I view these topics in an outline or corkboard (preferably side by side) for the in progress manuscripts and source manuscripts.
I saw a possibility in the Quick Reference windows video.
And in the forums, I saw some interesting stuff about exporting synopses (but that was just for export).

How do I create the synopses I need? And view them, side by side, as corkboard cards or outlines?
I LOVE scrivener, what it has done for me already. But at this point the learning curve seems steep and WIDE. Right now I need to do just this.

Righto, bear with me. I’m assuming that your source manuscripts, progress manuscripts, and newer text pieces are all organized as such in the binder, for instance under folders with those titles. When you say that you need to see “all mentions of that particular topic,” do you mean that you need to see (in the outliner or corkboard) all the documents that contain that topic or do you need to see the actual text (in context) every time that topic appears? Meaning, if you discuss “fame,” in three distinct paragraphs in a single document, do you need to see three separate index cards on the corkboard, one for each of those paragraphs, or is just the one card (symbolizing the one document) sufficient?

How you organize will be a little different, depending on which you require. If all you need is one card per existing document, then you can run a search for the topical word and then save the search as a dynamic collection. You can then view the collection as an outline or corkboard. The tricky part will be making each section (progress manuscripts, source manuscripts) distinct while keeping the collection dynamic, since you can’t search by multiple criteria of this sort. The easiest method would probably be making specific keywords (“source:topic”, “progress:topic” etc.) and searching for those. If you don’t need it to be dynamic–meaning the collection will update whenever you add a new document with that topical word in it or add the word to a pre-existing one, etc.–then this is easier. Select the folder you want to search and look for the word “in binder selection,” then drag the list of results into a new collection. You’ll just to update the collections yourself as necessary.

If you want a card for each paragraph where the topic appears without modifying the original document by splitting it into further sections, you’ll need to do a little more work. You could run a search for the topical word, then copy each relevant section (paragraph or set of paragraphs or whatever) into a new document. You could then gather these together similar to the above. The advantage would be that you’d see every specific instance in the outline (though that could be a disadvantage too) and that you could give each of these documents their own synopsis, separate from the synopsis of the original document; disadvantage would be that editing any of these would have no effect on the original document, so depending how you’re using this, it might completely negate the point.

If you’d like clarification, tell me which one sounds more like what you want and I’ll explain it in more detail with the steps to do it. I’ve used both methods for completely different purposes, so it really depends on why you need to pull together documents with the topic.

As for creating synopses, I’m not sure whether you mean creating synopses for this specific purpose as something distinct from the regular way to create synopses, so apologies if I’m just repeating what you know. To give a document a synopsis, you can open the inspector (the icon of the “i” in the blue circle or View>Inspect>Synopsis) and then just type whatever you want in the index card there. You can also just type on the card when viewing it on the corkboard; in outliner, when you have the cursor in the title text, just hit enter after the title and it will drop you to a new line to start typing synopsis text. Be sure that you’ve chosen “show synopsis” in the outliner (in the footer of the outline editor you should see a button that toggles between show/hide synopses; if it says show, click it).

Does that begin to help at all?

OMG. Thanks, thanks.
Last thing first (I’m very ADD. one reason I need Scrivener).
In a video I found on youtube “scrivener basics, corkboard and synopsis” the wonderful narrator just happened to mention that if you click the two little overlapping squares in the upper right hand corner of the inspector, more text would automatically be added to index cards. Which was one of the things I needed. Unfortunately, that still doesn’t show where I GOT the topic text from – whether from one of the Source Ms’s, or the Work in Progress MS or anything. So I still need a way to access the context. After I study your advice again, maybe that’ll offer me a way to add that info to my synopsis.

You wrote: “if you discuss “fame,” in three distinct paragraphs in a single document, do you need to see three separate index cards on the corkboard, one for each of those paragraphs, or is just the one card (symbolizing the one document) sufficient?”

I need three index cards, ea indicating the location of the mention of the topic in the single document.
I do need to be able to jump to the actual text (in context) every time that topic appears.
That will tell me whether I’ve already written about the topic in the IN PROGRESS doc and how MUCH I’ve written.
The source docs also indicate WHEN events happen, so I need to see the text in context in the source docs just to be sure where, on my timeline, events occur.
And whether it is redundant in several source documents or, especially, in the IN PROGRESS doc.

So, for instance, topic: Maggie. In a source doc, it might say that she lived in Princeton NJ during a certain time.
In another source doc, it might say that her mother locked her in the attic with no supper. I need to see that text in context in the source doc to see whether that happened in Princeton or before.
I may already have written something about her relationship with her parents in the IN PROGRESS doc, but nothing about her relationship with them when she was living in Princeton.

Another source doc might talk about her relationship with her parents at another time. Another source doc might talk about her highschool career and friends.

(I also have a 30 page source doc which is a hard copy. The pages are numbered, and I can create index cards and write synopses on them showing on which page of the hard copy each topic appears. This document contains a backup timeline which will be a great help. But once again, the source and context must be clearly noted. In this case I have no choice: I must do it manually.)

But it would be great to grab text from my various digital source docs and somehow have that text, that index card, automatically point back to where the text came from: Which document. I thought that that might be done with links. Can it?

Thanks again. You are wonderful. L.

Okey doke. Another long reply, but it may do what you want.

First off, the auto-generate button adds the first x many characters from your document (the document associated with that index card), but you can select text from anywhere within the document and then click the button to copy that text to the synopsis card. If you want to add more specific details, you can type your own text onto the card, and you can always use both–auto-generate first to quickly get some text in there and then edit it as you wish.

Something else that may be helpful, if your concern is viewing an arbitrary group of index cards (as you might if you ran a search for the topic through the entire project) and missing their original location, is to use labels, status, or keywords to identify where the card belongs–e.g., use the label “Work in Progress” or “Source Manuscript” etc. Any of these three meta-data options can be displayed on the corkboard, so that would be a convenient way to pack in a little more information. Labels and keywords appear as color coding (either a color chip on the side of the card or, for labels, you can tint the entire card that color); statuses get displayed as a stamp across the card, and you can adjust the opacity and color (though it’s the same for all cards; only the text will change).

On to the cards and topic organization. It’s not possible via Scrivener Links to jump directly to a location in a document, but you can create an index card with a copy of the topic text and create a link back to the original document. And with a little trickery you can do this “automatically” in some sense: here’s a walk-thru and you can see what you think.

In Scrivener>Preferences:Navigation, select “Create back-link references when creating Scrivener Links and references.” You can then run a search for your topic term as you were doing, load the documents as a Scrivenings session, and use cmd-g to jump through your text to each instance of the search term. Select the text you want to place in its own card/document (note that the text as I do it in these directions will go into the new document and not the synopsis) and use cmd-C to copy it, then press cmd-L to create a Scrivener Link.

This will pop up a box to create a new document; by default it will place it in the Research folder, but you can select any location you want and it will be remembered. (Before doing this you can create in the binder any new folders you might want to use to file these.) The selected text (or the first so many characters of it) will be the default title, which you can leave or change as you wish. Create the document and it will open (I think in a Quick Reference window by default, by it’s governed by your selection in Preferences:Navigation “Open newly created Scrivener links in…”). Use cmd-V to paste the text you selected earlier, then close the document. A link back to the original document from which you took the text is automatically created in the new document’s reference panel (viewable in the inspector).

This will also link the text in the original document to the newly created document (that’s really what you’re doing here; I’m just hijacking it for your purposes, if you will). If you don’t find that useful, you can use Edit>Unlink to remove it; it won’t affect the link back in your new document. I’d suggest running through all your source text and creating all the new documents you want this way and then, with all the original text loaded as a Scrivenings session, select it all and choose unlink to remove them all at once. (Though obviously don’t use this if you have some Scrivener links or hyperlinks that you want to keep!)

You can use the auto-generate synopsis to copy the text from the documents created into their respective synopses. Once you’ve created them all, just select them all in the binder and then choose Document>Auto-Generate Synopses. You could alternatively just paste the text into the synopsis initially, if you want it there and don’t care about having it in the document. When you run through the steps above to create the link and create the new document, before you paste the copied text hit ctrl-opt-cmd-I (i, not l) to open the synopsis and then just paste your text into there. (If you’re into doing everything all keyboard like me, you can hit ctrl-opt-cmd-I twice to put your cursor there, too, and then you can just hit cmd-v and skip the mouse entirely!)

You can combine this with writing your own synopsis or labels, etc, to provide the other contextual information.

Since this still only can link you to the whole document and not to the specific text within it, you might then combine it with another method to make the text easy to find in that document. You could obviously just run a search in the document (cmd-f) for the topic word and that might be sufficient. It will highlight all instances of the word and jump you to the first one and then you can use cmd-g to hop to the next, etc.

You could also use a highlight color to mark up the text; it would be easy to find when scrolling then, and you can even rename the colors (so instead of “green” it could be “Maggie”) or add your own. Find by Formatting allows you to search for highlighted text of a specific colors, so this might be a useful feature at some point too.

Creating an inspector comment at each instance of your topic in context could help too–they’ll all appear in the inspector together, and can be used as bookmarks to jump to the text to which they’re linked. You can color code them for easy visual identification and could add your own tag words to them in case you want to run a search for them later (e.g. Find by Formatting, comments containing “MAGGIE”).

Finally, you could create a text bookmark (cmd-shift-B) which would show up in View>Text Bookmarks when the document is loaded; clicking it will jump you to that portion of the text. You can title these by just typing in the annotation after the asterisk. Again, these aren’t accessible as links when the document isn’t open, so you can’t use them to jump straight to the text from a different document, but if you’re referencing these sections frequently it might be helpful.

All right, I’m being dragged out to a restaurant kicking and screaming, so I guess I should go. :wink: Let me know if that helps!

Oh, my friend! Hope you had a delightful meal.
Thanks for all of this.
I’m going to print it out today, study it, and do it.
Thanks again for the tutorial!!
L.