Best way to work through my "TODO" comments? (Found a bug)


Is there an easy way to “work through” my comments?

I’ve got 250+ comments in my project. These are things I need to come back to, either details to confirm or either general TODO items. Some are quick to deal with, some longer - I want to work through them smarter than just top to bottom.

Currently I prefix the text in the comment with “TODO”, “TODO confirm” or “TODO write up”, this way I can have search based collections which will find all documents with matching comments. A single document may have no comments or many.

I now want to start going through and dealing with these todo items, but I’m looking for a suitable “non linear” method of doing so.

My proposal (I’ve yet to start), is to bring up my collection and select all the comments from the inspector pane (this needs some serious mouse jiggling to get the scroll to work) and then copy and paste into a new document so I can do a bit of sorting between the easy ones and time consuming.

Downside to this; It won’t be a live reference so I’ll have to repeat it from time to time as I work through swathes of comments and add in a few more.

Any better ideas?

No one’s responded to this, so I’ll just add my probably fairly useless suggestion: pencil and paper?

I think this depends a lot on where you are in your draft (first revision? final revision?) and just how you work as a writer, but there are a few things I can think of in line with what you describe. First, before I forget, you can just load your documents in a Scrivenings session and use Ctrl-A when in the inspector to select all the comments, rather than scrolling. If you have any footnotes you don’t want in there, you can just search and delete them after you paste, since they’ll be prefaced by “Footnote:”.

So going through your notes, from the technical aspect. You can color code them, for one, by priority or by how large the task is. That won’t help you specifically when using a search tool, but visually when you’re going through you’ll be able to see whether that’s a comment you want to work on now or not–so you start out with all the edits of a certain type that are red, perhaps, then start through the oranges, etc.

Instead of or in addition to changing colors, you could add another keyword to the comment that you can search for, so you can group all your quick fixes, slightly longer fixes, and major issues. That could then be used for saved searches, the way you’ve done with other keywords in your comments. It would also come through the copy/paste procedure, if you’re making a single list of all the comments, so you could potentially use it for sorting there. (Put all your keywords in the same order at the beginning of your comments so you can run an alphabetical sort…ah, which is coming in the next update, but you could do it in another word processor.)

The main thing (getting away from the technicalities for a minute) is that unless this is all just your final brush up before you send off your manuscript, you’re likely to not ever really go through the entire to-do list, because changes that you make for some things will also remove other problems. To some extent, working in a linear fashion then might not be a terrible thing, as you start to fix issues in earlier chunks of the book and so do away with related issues that sprang up later. But the same could go for fixing the big swirling vortex of plot-hole doom in the center of your book (that might be too personal an example; no slight intended to your own work!), and by coming up with the fix for that you’ll probably relieve the need to address the dozens of related comments scattered through the book.

It might benefit you then to go through your comments and find the ones that are really core problems and work on those first, then make another sweep to see which comments still need addressing and work on the next set of those, etc. and work in stages like that rather than grouping everything at the beginning. Basically just divide into two or three groups to start, from most important to least important, then once you’ve started addressing the top priority concerns you can look through and see what’s left of the next set that you need to consider.

Apologies if I got too off track, and I’m sure you could get plenty of opposite advice; you may already have your own tried and true system that you’re just trying to fit into Scrivener, and I don’t want to mess with that. Just tossing in some ideas based on my own way of working.

That was the “Ahh so simple” stroke of genius response I was hoping for. It’ll work perfectly for me and I’d completely forgotten you could change the colours.

I can easily scan through all the comments and colour the ones I need to do first, then rinse and repeat until I’m happy.


Haha, no problem. I’m a bit obsessive with color coding, inside Scrivener and out. Highlighters, colored comments, colored pens, colored sticky tabs…

I will now see you looking like this:

I encountered a bug with the colouring of comments:

First up, I’m using the “show colours” option as I wanted a brighter red. So my workflow is to create a comment and if needed right click it in the inspector, choose show colours, select the crayola tab and select Maraschino. I’ve also occasionally selected snow, so I’ve got white > yellow > red as my severity of comments.

I earlier selected a comment and changed it to red, but it changed to black. Then whenever I clicked in a new comment it too turned black (just by clicking it in the inspector). The black was visible in the inspector and the editor. I left this strange (click to change colour) mode by clicking menus and within the binder, not sure which had the desired effect.

I tried changing the first black comment to red, but all that managed to do was change one word within it a red text background.

I cleared most of the issue by changing them to yellow and then back to the Maraschino. This worked perfectly in the inspector, but my first comment was still black in the main document. No matter what colour I changed it to, the inspector showed it correct but the editor had it on a black background.

I restarted Scrivener but it was still there and I still couldn’t lose the black in the editor by changing the colour of the comment.

I cured the black background by highlighting the comment text in the editor and unhighlighting it.

This still left me with a single red highlighted word within the comment in the inspector (Could be seen as the red highlight didn’t match the comment colour gradient), so I copy and pasted the text out with a match formatting and that cured it.

I’m not stopping using the colouring comments, but this was weird!

Hey, want me to post this up as a bug report?

No response, so I’m going to post anyway