Draft Board or Scrapbook

Hi, I’m new to Scrivener, and it’s fantastic. Miles beyond Word in its ability to organize thinking and structure.

However, one feature that I’ve been wanting for a long time in any writing program is this:
The ability to pull a chunk of text off to the side on a kind of Draft Board or scrapbook that runs parallel to the main text, but still somehow tethered to its original location, until I find a better place for it.

The longer version:
I write long fiction. Often there’s a passage that’s crucial to plot or character development, but it doesn’t work where it is. I need a place to put that passage/paragraph temporarily so that I can see the new flow of text in relation to the removed passage, which is still linked or tethered to its original location so that I understand the context when written. Word sort of does this when “track changes” is on and you delete a piece of text. But in this instance, I need a way to preserve a passage while moving it out of the way until I’m clear about what to do with it.

A parallel draft board running alongside the main text as a window would, it seems to me, be a great way to resolve this. I could also imagine it as a place to test out a passage before inserting it into the main body of text.

What would be extra-amazing is if that parallel draft board could somehow number or label the extracted chunks so that they could be simply dropped into a new location.

On one novel I’ve written, for a while there was just a mess of word shrapnel everywhere because I kept cutting and pasting passages into new locations in order to sort them. Sometimes I’d take one out but not know where it was supposed to shift to—so I’d just paste it at the very end of the chapter. Do this several times and things get messy, in addition to creating constant scrolling up and down. The parallel draft board would be a clever, useful way around this.

If there’s already a way to do this, I’d love to know about it!

Not quite what you’re describing, but here’s how I would approach the problem in Scrivener:

  • Use the Document -> Split command to break the chunk out into a separate document.

  • Leave it where it is, move to a lower outline level, or move it to a separate folder, whichever you prefer. Or all three, using the Duplicate command to make multiple copies.

  • Use keywords to tag the chunk with relevant characters, plot points, etc. If you like, you can use Scrivener’s Annotation, Document Notes, and Synopsis features to add more detail about what the chunk is supposed to accomplish, why it doesn’t quite work, whether it provides important foreshadowing, etc.

  • Use Collections to assemble versions of the draft with and without the problem chunk. Split the editor pane if needed to look at both versions side by side.


How about putting the removed text into a comment? Then it would appear in the inspector pane when you were viewing the main text, with a visual indicator for each chunk removed.