First, let me say I love the program. For a long while I used Jer’s Novel Writer and I love it, too, but felt Scrivener offered a few more things that I needed. However, one thing I miss terribly is the feature Jer’s had that allowed you to add things to it’s database, and then also append things to that. So, for example, if you create a new character, you could hightlight it and right click then say ‘add to database in category—person’

If later, you describe that person’s hair, or eyes, for example, you could say ‘add to database description of ‘x’

In this way, especially over the course of very long novels or series of novels, it was very easy to keep track of not only your characters, but how you had already described them.

Would love to see some kind of implementation of that in Scrivener.


Have you tried integrating a few of the existing features to accomplish this? Some examples.

In Scrivener, I’d select the person’s name and hit Cmd-L. For the best emulation of Novel Writer here, I would recommend turning off Automatically open newly created Scrivener Links in alternate editor, located in the Navigation preferences. With this setting off, the new document simply gets created and you can keep typing.

Once you are done with the current thought you can click back to the link you made which will open the note in the editor. Type the character’s name, select it, and press Shift-Opt-Cmd-T to change the title to the selection. Cmd-[ will get you back to where you were.

Again, while writing, just jot down the ideas you had in the main writing area, select them, then right click and choose “Append Selection to…” and you’ll find your character sheet in “Notes”. If you haven’t named it yet, it will be a date stamp and originating document, which should help you find it.

If you later do not want the link in your writings, you can just select the entire document and choose “Unlink” from the Text menu. This will, of course, not destroy the originals—just the links to them. Since everything lands in the “Notes” folder of the Binder, periodically you can sort these out however you like.

It isn’t as geared toward novel writing as Novel Writer, but it is effectively the same thing without the complications of a “database”. It can be easily dumped into the Draft and exported, in other words, since they are just files.

Indeed, all of the features Amber mentions were incorporated into Scrivener mainly so that you could have something very similar to the database feature in Novel Writer in Scrivener without tying it specifically to novel writing. In the Research section, you could set up different folders for characters, locations etc (and in 2.0 you will be able to assign custom icons to such folders should you so wish, for further project customisation). Then using “Append Selection to…” you can continue to add relevant information to documents in those sections (your character or location database, or anything else) without leaving the current document.

All the best,