Collections and how to get the best from It

I apologise to all for this question but how is the best way to use Collections> It looks good and I would love to use it but I can’t come to grips with it. Why can’t I just use the research feature instead? How does anyone else use it?

I use the Research folder to start shaping the infos I collected with DEVONthink. While in DT I still think in terms of collecting and analyzing, the Research folder of Scrivener is where everything starts to find sort of a “narrative” place (whether it is a story or an essay).

Research is different to the draft, in that it includes several background information that might not enter the final draft. It can contain informal passages, unstructured pieces of writing, sketches, sparse ideas, text to be reconsidered.

Enter the Collections. When the story or essay is going to take its final shape, I like experimenting. In a story, I might want to see the linear development of a sub-plot - and this is a Collection. Or I could see all place where I write about Opera in my music essay, before pulverizing everything in a more general history of music.

Collections are no longer Researches: they are the final story, in its mutating shapes. They are experiments, hypotheses, alternative shapes of the same story.

In the past, I used the Search function to do something similar, or the Keywords. But they were sort of volatile. Collections are more like pinboards, where I can attach my alternative structures in a more tangible form. And i can have several of them at the same time.


There are a lot of creative ways you could use Collections, and how you do depends on what the project is and what you need and how busy you are procrastinating. The main thing with Collections it that they offer arbitrary collections of documents–you can pull together documents from anywhere in the Binder and view them together and in static collections (ones that aren’t saved searches) you can move them around to try different orders without affecting the arrangement in the Binder.

So for example you could make a collection of scenes and move them around to see if you like a different order better without destroying the original hierarchy–if you like it, you can easily copy it over to make it “official” in the Binder, and if you don’t, no harm done.

If you’re writing a fiction piece that alternates scenes from different characters’ points of view, you might make a collection for each POV character so you can read through all that character’s scenes and make sure the flow works, the voice remains consistent, etc. It’s also an easy visual to see how many scenes each character has and make sure you’ve divided the piece appropriately.

You might make a list of “to do” items, e.g. a saved-search collection of all documents with a “needs revision” status. At the beginning of your work day you can pull up that collection to get straight to what you need to do, then watch in satisfaction as the list shortens when you affix a new “revised” status to a document and it disappears from the list.

If you’re working with a collaborator, you might use a collection to keep together your scenes separate from your co-writer’s scenes. In the Binder they may be interwoven, but the collection will be a quick reference for just looking at what you have to do.

So, a few ideas. There are tons of other things people do with them too; you might see some ideas in the Tips & Tricks section of the Forum. The Mac 2.0 version of Scrivener offers a few features that Windows doesn’t have yet–freeform corkboard and syncing, specifically–which make further use of collections. You may of course find that you have no need for them, but they’re a great tool for when you do.

Thanks Ptram, MimeticMouton, both your comments have helped me I really appreciate them and I am using your thoughts now.
Thanks again a million times :smiley: