multiple manuscripts in project

hi there,
i’m just giving scriv. 2 a whirl and it looks promising.

i want to have a project where there are multiple manuscripts (novels) in a series which share characters, locations, research etc., how do i add a new (second or third or more) manuscript to a project?


I would do something like this:

And then when I wish to compile a book, set up the compiler like this:

And here is proof it works :slight_smile: … ca_mccarty


ok amberv and eddy, thnx for the replies.

i figured this was the answer, but it just seemed that since scriv claims to allow you to structure how you want, it only having a concept of 1 manuscript per project is an unneeded limitation. why shouldn’t i be able to have several top level manuscript ‘folders’ per project? it would be more natural, to me, and possibly others, than saying all the novels are separate sub-sections of one ‘mega manuscript’.

i realise the (almost) same ‘working effect’ is produced by the ‘sub-compiling’ method you suggest, but, why should scriv force me to organise according to it’s concepts rather than my own? multiple manuscripts, with their own project notes etc. and shared resources too, just seems a natural…


thanks again for replies,

It doesn’t force you to do anything. Just rename “Draft” to “Manuscripts” and have folders for each manuscript as advised. I really don’t understand the problem - the result is exactly what you want and this is the intended way of doing this. The “Draft” folder is the text-only folder that interacts with Compile. That’s all. How you organise it, whether you have a single book in there or multiple, is entirely up to you. There are various tools - such as hoist - that allow you to focus on a single subsection too.

Besides, although this is the intended way of doing what you want, the general intention is that each .scriv project is a separate writing project. But despite this, Scrivener doesn’t “limit” or “force” you to do it that way - as has been explained to you in the excellent answers already provided.

thanks for your reply keith.

as i stated, the way of doing what i wanted as described by the two original answerers to my question, whom i thanked, is what i ended up deciding was the way you were meant to do it. any implied criticism of the way scriv handles things you have gleaned from my words is undoubtedly a result of my lack of understanding of scriv’s way of doing / naming / stucturing things.

but then, that was the point, and if you’re willing to listen to my experience, as a writer experienced with many other tools trying scriv for the first time, rather than a member of it’s undoubtedly well deserved mutual admiration society of already scriv-experienced initiates, :wink: then it’s possible there could be some tiny piece of useful information in my initial experience somewhere.

because i think scriv seems great enough to be worth my spending the time it will take to explain this properly, i will detail the experience, and what seemed inconsistent about it, below. i hope you have time, in responding to the undoubtedly huge surge of work generated by scriv 2’s release, to cast an eye over it.

so first i fired up scriv 2, chose the ‘multi part novel’ template and began to play. pretty quickly thought “nice” :wink:. now, to explain how my confusion over this question arose…

where you make the statement: “…the general intention is that each .scriv project is a separate writing project…” is fine and dandy, but I, and possibly some other authors, consider a series, or even a series of series, of novels, set in the one world with many interrelated and overlapping characters, locations, plotlines and research, to be a “separate writing project”. and the first thing i tried to do was add a second manuscript to the project.

since the novel with parts template had given me a top level folder named “manuscript” which contained the template novel with parts structure, i first assumed that to have multiple novel manuscripts in the project i should add a new manuscript. so i look in the context menu for the project under “add”… no possibility to add a manuscript, only chapters, parts etc., subsections of the given ‘doc with parts’ template… so i look on the main menu, no possibility to add a manuscript there, so i go on to try all the right click menus and any other place or button i can find seeking “add manuscript”, but find nothing.

now at this point two things occur to me, i’ll explain the interesting result of the first below, but the second was “all the working text in an entire project must have to be held in one of these things scriv calls a ‘manuscript’, so i must be meant to create extra sub folder levels under ‘manuscript’ to hold each separate novel”… this approach was then confirmed by the excellent answers received on your forum here. (btw, these forums with their helpful folk are immediately apparent as one of scriv’s greatest assets.)

so what you say is strictly true, scriv does not force a kind of structure (single novel) on me, it just insists on calling something (all the working/draft text in a project, even comprising multiple novels) ‘manuscript’ that is different from what i think of when i say ‘manuscript’ (which is the working text of an individual novel).

fair enough, no biggie, but in this case there is one major (and i think quite worthwhile) suggestion i would make to improve scriv 2, and one thing that puzzled me that i’d like to point out.

the suggestion, is that since your templates, rightly, contain the concept of ‘novel’ as one of the building blocks of a writing project, this level of ‘writing project building block’ should be naturally reflected in scrivs project handling choices. in other words, there should be an option called “add novel” (which is really what i was looking for when i failed to find “add manuscript”), that allows you to directly add a new empty “novel” structure under the “manuscript” root. yes, you can create one by hand, by making the folders and naming them yourself, or by making a ‘novel’ folder under ‘manuscript’ and copying the empty novel starter framework there, but, it should be a simple, direct, choice to “add” one (or a second screenplay for a series scriptwriting project or whatever), just like it is for the other structual elements of writing that scriv has blessed with menu actions for creating.

not having that option to add a top (or, to scriv, second) level writing unit is what led to the whole confusion over scrivs way of structuring things in the first place. since i am allowed to have multiple novels (or screenplays or scripts) in the project, why not acknowledge that and be consistent in allowing the easy creation of an empty one with a menu choice like all the others? not having it so is quite counter-intuitive.

ok, last piece of “new to scriv, first try-out” feedback. :wink: the first thing that occurred to me when i couldn’t find how to add an additional “book level unit” to my project, was "ok then, maybe i should just copy “manuscript” as a second “manuscript”.

i did this, by choosing “duplicate” from the menu while “manuscript” was selected, and it almost worked. it created a duplicate folder structure called “manuscript copy” with the title page and the contained novel structure all duplicated. then i found i couldn’t give this second “manuscript” a manuscript icon… then i noticed, more importantly, that when i selected the first “manuscript” i saw the “Project Notes (General)” in the sidebar, but when i selected my copied “manuscript” it owned no “project notes”… at this point it became apparent that although i could duplicate “manuscript” (which seemed sensible) scriv considered it’s first/original/canonical “manuscript” to be a special case that owned something called “project notes”… it was at this stage that i gave up on creating a second manuscript folder and decided that perhaps scriv wanted me to build all my novels (which i think of as manuscripts) as children it’s special first “manuscript”, which must really be the “project draft texts root”, since you could only have one of them that scriv would recognise as a special singular entity that owned a project level thing called “project notes”.

undoubtedly all a comedy of errors and misunderstandings on my part. but one i fell into by following intuitively obvious steps…

anyway, whether i end up deciding to move all my work into scriv or not, i think it would benefit greatly by handling the novel/screenplay/script/book level of structure more consistently with the other lower levels of book structure.

your/scrivs idea of what constitutes a “separate writing project” sic (a single book) is not necessarily consistent with everyone else’s (for me, and perhaps others it constitutes a series of books or works sharing a world). it’s great that scriv does allow me to treat as a project what i think of as a project, but since it does have the strength of allowing that, it should treat the ‘book’ level of structure consistently, as a unit of structure that many may wish to have more than one of in a project.

cheers keith,
and thanks for your awsome effort in creating something as interesting as scriv,

Just create a new template, rename “Manuscript” or “Draft” to “Manuscripts” or “Books” and there you go. (If you want, create a templates folder inside the project with a folder that has a custom icon, call it “Novel”, and there you go, now you can even use Project > New From Template > Novel.) Scrivener is not just a novel-writing program and is designed to be flexible enough to handle all writing projects. But it would be easy to set up a template that does exactly what you want. There are several templates provided that work great for basic usage, but they were all created from a “Blank” project and you are free to make your own that better suit your needs.

thanks again for being so “hands on” with your software kb, it really is a great vote for scriv that the developer is so involved with the user community.

yep, got that, which is why i mentioned that someone writing a series of scripts (or even non fiction works) based on one world (or set of research) may also be inclined to use a multi-“work” project setup.

terrific. it seems clear that i should be able to do exactly what i want with scriv once i understand it a little better, and that’s a very encouraging prospect.

one last ‘questionlet’ then that you or perhaps anyone else in the know can answer: those default “Project Notes (General)” that i noticed belonging to the ‘Manuscript’ entity in the novel-with-parts template, are i assume then just an aspect of the way that template is set up? so that if (quite likely when, :wink: now) i create a multi-book template (where i will be able to have the “add > book” ability i was missing) there can just as easily be both ‘project’ and ‘book’ level default general notes pages (if i wish)? i pretty much already assume this is so… i guess i’ll see easily enough anyway, perhaps tomorrow if i have more time for a further play with scriv then.

lastly, if i do create a multi-book project template that i think works sensibly, could i contribute it for inclusion with scriv? just a thought.

all the best,

One thing on our list is to put together a proper tutorial - or video - showing how to set up template projects as this would obviously be really useful, but we just didn’t have time before the release. But, last thing first:

In Scriv2 you can have multiple project notes. If you go to the Window menu, you can open the Project Notes panel. This is a tabbed window, and you can add as many tabs as you want - you can also double-click on a tab (including the “General” one) to rename it. Any tabs you create here are available in the pop-up button at the top of the notes pane in the inspector. So you could have project notes for characters, locations, anything you want, all available in the inspector once set up in this panel (or you can just edit them and access them in this panel itself.

Here’s a very quick look at how you might set up a multi-book template:

  1. In a blank project, or based on the novel template, rename the “Draft” (or “Manuscript”) folder to “Novels”, or “Drafts”, or “Books” or whatever you want:

(It’s probably best to start from the novel or novel-with-parts template for this because they have all the compile settings you need set up for you.)

  1. Create a folder anywhere you want in the project, and use Project > Set Selection as Templates Folder, to turn it into the Templates folder (if you’re using the novel template as a basis, you don’t need to do this as a templates folder is already provided):

  1. Create a folder inside the Templates folder and entitle it “Novel” (a “T” will appear in its corner when placed inside the Templates folder to indicate that it is now a template document). Note that if you used the novel template as a basis, there will also be character and setting sheet templates in this folder, too.

  1. Use Documents > Change Icon to give your “Novel” folder a nicer icon if you wish. You don’t have to use the ones provided - you can also create or download your own and add them via Documents > Change Icon > Manage Icon…

Now you can just click on the “Books” folder, ctrl-click, and select Add > New From Template > Novel to add your novel folder:

You could even set it up so that there is a blank document inside the “Novel” folder that gets added for you when it is created, by placing a blank document inside the “Novel” folder in the Templates folder. (Of course, New From Template > Novel will be available from anywhere, whether you are in the Draft folder or not, as templates are generic, but this does most of what you want.)

The other thing to do is ensure that you select “Compile ignoring levels outside the current compile group” in the “Processing Options” pane of the Compile sheet. This ensures that each novel is treated as a whole.

There are other refinements and tweaks you could make, but that should get you started.

All the best,

I’m studying this answer because I’ve wanted to create a project like this for a while. I’m interested in having different metadata filled out in the compile for each short story in the same story world.

The “levels” sounds like Scriv2. Could someone tell me where I find this setting in Scrivener3?

“The other thing to do is ensure that you select “Compile ignoring levels outside the current compile group” in the “Processing Options” pane of the Compile sheet. This ensures that each novel is treated as a whole.”

Thanks very much!


Scrivener 3 completely overhauled the Compile command. The discussion of “levels” in this thread is completely irrelevant in Scrivener 3. (For an introduction to Scrivener 3’s Compile command, see the Interactive Tutorial, available from the Help menu.)

In Scrivener 3, the key command for compiling a portion of the Draft folder is “Treat compile group as complete manuscript.” See Section 23.4.1 in the Scrivener 3 manual.