Multiple books in one Scrivener

Oooh, I do hope this is in the right place. I’m going to blog about this as well, so my non-Scrivener-using writing friends can see it.

I’ve spent a long time puzzling over how to manage the massive world of Amnar in Scrivener. I’ve written loads of books, have masses of background and notes to manage, as well as a webserial to write and maintain.

I could use a different Scrivener file for each book, but that means I have to go back to the original file to get the research and background I need. (I have a thing dubbed an “Amnapedia” which is massive and growing fast.)

Now, I think I have the answer. I write all my books in one Scrivener file, but I keep them in their own named folder, moving them in and out of the “Draft” area, depending on which one I’m working on. I’ve been impressed that although I need a bit of patience for statistics to be re-calculated, this system has worked very well.

I currently have two books of a new serial sitting in this one Scrivener file, plus the new webserial. Doing it this way means I can store books in the “Research” area and search them easily whenever I need to check up on something. Hopefully, this will mean far fewer continuity errors in the future. So far, it has made maintaining a very big world much easier, even if most of it is still in my head.


Another way you can do it is to keep all of those books in their respective folders inside the Draft folder at the same time - you don’t need to move them in and out. In the Compile Draft sheet, you can choose to compile only a subfolder of the Draft rather than the whole Draft folder, so you could just choose to compile whichever book you are currently working on. The project statistics will operate on whatever is currently selected for compile, so they will only give you the stats for the book you are working on too with this set-up.

Hope that helps.

All the best,

Fabulous, thank you! I’ll use that approach from now on. Although this probably makes me unstoppable, now.


I’m sure this is in the FAQ somewhere, but is there a total file size where Scrivener could potentially get a bit wobbly? I’ve got stacks of old short stories, one NanoWriMo novel and hundreds of ‘scraps’ spread out across multiple Word documents and a few new Scrivener files, would I run into any problems consolidating them into a single Scriv file? Or maybe having a ‘Short Stories’ file and a separate ‘Novels’ file?

I asked the same thing in the beginning, and the elaborate answer I got (somewhere here in the forum) boils down to: No. Don’t bother.

Yeah, basically the only limitations are those imposed by the underlying HFS+ filesystem that Mac uses to store your files. The limits are more in the neighbourhood of what national libraries store, than what a human can produce in their lifetime.

The more salient “limitations” if you can even call them that, are in Scrivener’s philosophy. You may find that it’s a little awkward putting more than one book into Scrivener. Each book will likely have its own meta-data, keywords, etc. The Compile system is really set up to work best with one work per project, and so on. You can use it however you want, but you might find the features don’t all fit together quite as elegantly.

The Research folder of Scrivener is fairly limited. To me, your project sounds far better suited to Devonthink Pro. One database to rule them all; Scrivener to draft the individual books or serial installments.