Customizing the Corkboard - Emmanuel Katto Uganda

Hello Everyone, I am Emmanuel Katto. I’m working on a historical fiction novel that spans multiple time periods and plot threads, and I’m finding it challenging to keep track of all the different storylines and character arcs. I’ve tried using Scrivener’s Corkboard, but I’m having trouble creating a customized outline that allows me to visualize and organize my complex narrative.

I’ve created separate corkboards for each time period and character, but I’m struggling to find a way to connect them in a way that makes sense. I’d like to be able to see how each storyline relates to the others, and how they all contribute to the overall narrative arc of the novel.

Has anyone else had experience with creating a customized corkboard for a complex novel like this?

Thanks in advance!

All Scrivener’s structural tools are available for this, but maybe the best way is a Story Grid:

  • Labels per storyline or time period could be shown with colors in the Binder, and as a timeline of sorts in the Corkboard ‘Arrange by Label’ View. For an actual Timeline, look up Aeon Timeline.
  • If you don’t use it, States could be changed to anything else you want to keep track of.
  • Multiple Keywords are possible per Section, making finding by Keyword available.
  • Combine Search results in Dynamic Collections to see all sections within a storyline or character arc.
  • Add Custom Metadata to include all the extra’s you need to keep track of. If you want, you can add dates and time period to sections, for example.

Combine all above in a Story Grid: Set up the Outliner to show Keywords, Metadata and Custom metadata columns for all sections to provide an overview of your complex novel.

Hope this helps


I don’t use the corkboard so much as the outliner view (but that’s only my preference).

All the custom metadata and tags (as AntoniDal mentioned above) can be set as columns in your outliner. Then you can click on the appropriate column heading in your outliner to sort by that column (date, character, arc, setting - the limit is only in your assigned metadata). You can then create collections to view these (sorted) selections in a Scrivenings view without actually re-ordering your binder. :wink: You can also select multiple items to add metadata in bulk.

Re: dates - if you have specific/actual dates to track, then Scrivener’s custom date function is useful, however for fiction, I understand that Aeon Timeline (which I personally don’t use with historical non-fiction) is more flexible.

Personally I make heavy use of customized labels and tags which can both be color coded. Tags can also be organized in a hierarchal order.

While labels and status can both be customized for details important to you, only labels can be color coded and be set to show those colors in your binder and corkboard. (See the tutorial under your help menu.) For this reason, I choose the most important details for me to see visually with color for my custom labels. I use tags for characters since multiple tags can be used in each doc.

Also important is to keep your doc ‘pieces’ fairly small - ie maybe scenes (and/or sub scenes). This makes sorting by your metadata more focused.

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I really like Scapple from L&L for this type of use you could create a board mindmap for each period and can drag scapple notes into scrivener. Or even into inspector notes for a scene and easy to copy and paste info from scrivener into scapple. You can have pictures or timelines or boards with groups of notes on a charecter or location. One time fee no recurring charges and almost no limit on Board size . You can even bookmark scapple boards for a particular scene.
The different way of looking at info helps me organize in addition to all the scrivener tools
here is one example of a location board.


Thank you @FamilyPuzzleSolver

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Thanks @AntoniDol ! :slightly_smiling_face: