Optimal Project Size

I am writing a nonfiction book in Scrivener 2.8 the draft of which, according to the Binder, at present has approximately 300,000 words of written text and notes in about 35 files. Additionally, Binder contains a large Research folder with many reports and PDF documents. I have had no problems using Dragon Dictate in taking notes and editing my written text, that is till Dragon Dictate 6.01 came out the other day. Now Dragon crashes after dictating about 5 words. Dragon’s Technical Support did a heroic job in trying to fix the problem. The technician’s suggestion at the end was that the Scrivener files were simply too large for Dragon to handle and that I should break them up into manageable chunks. My question is: is there an optimal size for a Scrivener project, and how does one attain this without sacrificing the integrity of the project? Additionally, I’ve been getting notices from Dropbox that my backups are reaching the limits of the free space they allow. Same question: is there an optimal size for a Scrivener project, or even a maximum size? Thank you.

Scrivener doesn’t care how big your projects are. We have users with projects well into the gigabyte range.

However, as you’re discovering, some operations will become more challenging as project size increases.

A project backup will, by definition, consume approximately the same amount of space as the project itself. If you’re using a service like Dropbox, then you may discover that uploading such a large project takes a significant amount of time, as well as running into the limitations of your account.

It’s possible to store research files as aliases, thus removing them from the body of the project. Note, however, that if you do this the project will no longer be self-contained, and there are a number of circumstances that can break the alias links. See Section 10.1.3 of the Scrivener manual for more information. In my own work, I use a separate research archive, maintained in DevonThink Pro, but that’s partly because I tend to refer to the same materials in multiple projects.

Now, within the project, you can break individual files down as finely as you like, using the Documents -> Split command. I don’t think 8500 words or so per file is excessive, and find it somewhat disappointing that Dragon Dictate does. But it might be worth experimenting to see if it handles smaller chunks more easily.