Draft Board

Scrivener is fantastic. But one thing is missing that would make my writing life great: a draft board (or perhaps another name: sandbox, testing ground, etc.)

This would be a side window to one’s main draft where you could test out a new version of a paragraph, section, or chapter. But still be able to see your existing paragraph, section, or chapter for reference.

For instance, I want to heavily rework the first five pages of a book I’m writing. But I want to be able to compare and contrast the new version with my current version, so I can examine pacing, etc. I may in fact keep my existing version.

As it is, at least the way I use Scrivener, I have to rework my existing and then (if I want to go back) I have to use an earlier snapshot. It feels a bit backward, like the experimenting with a new version before committing isn’t possible.

Does something like Draft Board already exist in Scrivener? If not, I think it would be a great addition.

You can duplicate the existing document/documents you wish to edit, and then open them up in the second editor for that side-by-side comparison. When you have the version you like, you can delete the other one, or mark it with specific keywords and create one or more Collections to show the main draft vs. alternate drafts.

That’s great! Thanks.

I guess what I’m also looking for is a place to move text as I try to find a place for it. For instance, I often have a paragraph that’s crucial but I have to move it elsewhere in the book. I don’t yet know where to move it to. It may take some time and editing to find a place for it.

At the moment, I place it in a comment. But this seems like a clunky workaround. The comment is tethered to a specific location. I guess what I’m imagining is a draftboard or pasteboard that would both be a place to try out new/revised passages before merging them with the whole, but that could also hold crucial passages while they’re waiting for a home.

Let’s say I have a description of a key character that takes up too much space in the 1st chapter. So I decide to move it, but don’t know where yet. I rework the second chapter, and the third over two days. Then, I finally find a good place for the passage in the third chapter. Where do I store that description while I’m continuing to work?

You could have it in the Research part of the Binder.

I have folders under Research called Cut Text of Possible Use, and Good Lines Looking for a Home. I often open them as Quick Reference windows while I’m working, just in case.

I prefer to use the Research folder for actual research, so what I do is create another folder separate from but at the same level as the Draft/Research folders, to contain unused scenes or text that needs a home.

Will this help?

Start work on your review. When you come to a piece that you want to retain, select it, right click and choose ‘Append Selection to Document’ and choose New. Name the new document ‘Draft Board’ and use the drop down list to give it a home. Your selected text will be copied to Draft Board – it’s still selected in the original document so you can keep it and delete it as you wish.

Carry on revising, and the next time you come to a relevant piece, select it and right click – you’ll see that there is a new item ‘Annotate Selection to “Draft Board” again’, so you don’t have to choose that document again. When you created Draft Board, a link to the original document was created – this only works the first time, not when you append other items from different source documents.

‘Draft Board’ is just a normal document, so you can work on it in the normal way — editing it or even appending selections to other documents.