Organizational Advice Needed

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I’m a software developer and I’ve been using Scrivener for a while now to maintain the development documentation for several projects I’m involved with (and because Scrivener makes it very easy to maintain the documentation, it’s actually staying current with the projects).

I’m starting to write some fiction (for my own gratification) and I’m finding that my creative process is (for now) the same as it is for writing code - I like to explore/experiment. When I’m coding and want to experiment, I can create a new branch of my code (I happen to use GIT for source code management) and try things out. If it works out I can merge it back into the main branch, if it doesn’t I can remove it. I can make branches from other branches (and merge with other branches) as needed to get things the way I want them. Branches can live for as long as I want/need them to.

So how do I setup my Scrivener environment to allow me to have branches in my story?

(I’m not looking for all the bells and whistles that GIT has - I don’t expect Scrivener to automatically merge the branches for me or anything like that.)

I’m familiar with snapshots (and can’t live without them in my technical writing) but I don’t think they will work for multiple active branches. The two ways I’ve thought of are: cloning the project for each branch or using metadata and collections. I’m not fond of cloning the project. It would be ok on my Mac since I can have multiple projects open and can move things between them, but I don’t think that would be practical if I add an iPad to the mix. The programmer in me likes the idea of custom metadata and using collections, but I’m not sure how “easy” that will be to maintain or how well it would scale. I want something that is “easy” so I can spend as much time on the writing and not get too distracted “playing” with metadata and collections. (It’s already easy enough to get distracted, I should be writing now but I’m here doing this.)

How do other exploratory writers deal with this in Scrivener?

Thank you in advance for your advice.

You can duplicate either individual documents or entire trees in the Binder. So you could duplicate the last common node between branches and then nest further explorations under that. Rename the “base” nodes so that you can easily tell the branches apart.



Thank you very much, Katherine, That will work perfectly and is easy to manage.