It's in there somewhere!

I’m a pretty basic user of Scrivener. TBH I get a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities in there. I’ve come up with something I need but I can’t work out how to do it, so a little guidance would be appreciated. What I want is essentially a sort of checklist for ‘things’ I introduce into my work. Let’s say it’s a person. I want to check off that I’ve mentioned 1) their birthplace 2) their parents 3) their education 4) their first job and so on. Is it a template, metadata, a (reusable) index card, or what? I’m pretty sure that there’s something in Scrivener to help but I’m not seeing it. I’d be grateful for some help with this.

TIA, Paul

Custom Metadata is probably what you want. You can create checkboxes with any data name you want.

My assumption is that you’re writing a novel and not a short story.

There are likely a zillion or two ways to handle something like this. :nerd_face: My guess is that every Scrivener novelist has there own method–so there’s no right or wrong way to handle this, just various tradeoffs.

Here’s what I do, which is different than Sanguinius’ suggestion.

My binder structure might look something likes this:

Draft (the actual novel is written within this folder, with each document containing a scene).

  • Joe puts his shotgun in a bag
  • Mary is late for work
  • Joe walks up to Mary the teller and opens his bag
    … (60ish scenes later)
  • Mary drinks a pina colada on her private island and wonders how Joe’s handling jail

Story Elements (separate folder, at same level as Draft, where I keep all my story notes and research material)

  • Characters (folder)
    – Joe (doc)
    – Mary
    – Etc. (A separate doc for each major character)
  • Settings (folder)
  • Weapons (folder)
  • Etc. (whatever else I need to track for this book)

In the various character docs, I keep the usual list of attributes and backstory. It’s easy enough to set up a template for this, but I don’t usually bother.

If I had a number of points for each character that I wanted to be sure were shared in the book, then I’d probably create a bulleted list inside each character doc. Then, when I’d written a particular point into a scene, I’d indicate that one is done by striking through that list item. (You could also search Wingdings font for check boxes, if you’d prefer that look.) I’d also include a Scriv doc link in the check list to the specific scene where that point was shared, so I can track it down later if necessary.

So that’s one way to do it.


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Another way is to create subdocuments beneath the Character Sketch for your person, each with a title of the thing to check and no text. You could Change it’s icon from the Unticked to the Ticked icon coming from the ToDo Category of icons when you’ve mentioned that thing of the person.
Linking this subdocument to the scene where you mentioned it, works in this scenario as well. Just drag the subdocument to a selected word or phrase in your scene.
If you set up a Document Template for a CheckListItem with the Unticked icon already chosen, you don’t have to worry about that one any more.

Still, it seems like a lot of work. Why don’t you just make a short list in the Notes area at the bottom right of the first Inspector tab and strike a line through when that thing is mentioned?
Even that Note can be part of a Document Template if the list doesn’t change every scene. Or you can have several Document Templates for different lists to check.
When you add such a list in the Notes area of your normal New Text Template, it will always exist next to your scenes.

Custom Metadata also works. After creating a bunch of checkboxes in the Project Settings, they appear in the third tab of the Inspector for every document in your entire project. But the ticking of the boxes is saved per document. You can’t group checkboxes into a set, so the order in Project Settings determines the order in the Inspector. If your things to check don’t change much, this might be the simplest solution. Just beware that it may become a mess too if there’s too many checkboxes.

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Thread moved, as this is a general usage discussion, not a support query.

Ha! See, I knew it could be done! Thanks for taking the trouble to reply. I found that Sanguinius’ solution appeared on every text piece as did the Note suggestion from Antoni. It was a combination of Jim and Antoni’s first solution that worked for me. I already had a folder with character details in, so I added a template for those. It was being able to link these sub-documents to their usage in the main text that was key though. I hadn’t been aware that you could do that so that was a valuable lesson.

And… oooops. Sorry, Katherine.

Thanks again for the help, Paul

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Brilliant. Thank you.