I am working on a novel. As such a key aspect is managing backstory references. While some of the backstory is related as complete scenes, much is provided by “micro-references” of just a sentence or two and these micro-references are scattered throughout the manuscript. One challenge is keeping track of these references for multiple characters over the full length of the manuscript. For example, I am writing scene A - have I already told the reader that character B attended University C? If so, where? Obviously, this is a trivial example in terms of its narrative impact but in many cases these micro-reveals are very important and even more important is WHEN these reveals are made in relation to the over-all narrative.
In fact, I would say that the revelation of character backstory is one of the KEY aspects of my novel and many novels. If done well, the novel works. If not done, well it will not.
So I need to
- Be able to tag text as being a backstory reference; and
- Know what scene it is placed.
- Be able to see this in an over-view form.
Ideally I would be able
- to tag text
e.g. with a formatted tag like “BST- David reveals that his parents were killed in a fire”
- to tag text
- Have this tag show up on the index card of the given scene in cork board view.
(Obviously I could manually add this as part of the synopsis but this will require a lot of manual work especially as a major part of revision is moving these micro-references from one scene to another).
Reviewing the forum, the following thread explains how to export comments and inline annotations to an RTF file:
Using - File>Export>Comments and Annotations
This provides a way to do a search on all such tags and create a result that also provides the information of which scene the tag is located. As noted above, in this case the context of the tag is as important as the tag itself.
So far so good.
Then I can import the RTF file that is generated back into my project
Using - File>Import> Files
This creates a new file with all of the backstory tags and the scenes in which they are located (with appropriate hyperlinks). Split screen editing then allows an easy way of seeing and moving from one reference to another.
Is there anything I have overlooked that might improve this process?
p.s. I have to say that Scrivener is impressive terms of its suite of tools that can be adapted to the needs of authors of very different types of works.