Pure bliss!...plus a question.

I have been waiting for version 2 since I first heard about it. Never tried Scrivener before, just lurked around the site until I got wind of character templates. Bought v.2 and I just started reading the manual to get started. Admit I feel like a child among you smarter people, but here’s why I’m excited:

Been writing the same story since 1990. Became a comic book series and we did well. Read in 60+ countries online. My hands were damaged in a car wreck–so after years of prodding, my kids convinced me to write the story in novel form. Now I have daily notes dating back to 1990 and linear processing isn’t part of my DNA.

Enter Scrivener. I would carve a golden idol in my home if it wasn’t against my religion to do so, I’m so excited!

So I’m just starting my education on this system. The most advanced software I ever used was a Moleskin and a gel pen (upgraded from the #2 pencil). So you can imagine my joy (and empowerment) in being able to write as I think!! Thank you, thank you.

I hope to become your biggest fan ever and contribute in any way I can during my writing process. Already referred author friends to use the software.

Now my question. I don’t know where this would fit (perhaps in technical support?)

The books I write are all part of the same series. I would like to input characters, places, events and more into the stories as they are written, but also be able to pull from that very same base with each book. Does Scrivener allow me to:

  1. import or draw from a collective pool of characters, events, places, etc. created in previous projects?
  2. create a project FROM the pool (i.e. Hobin Luckyfellers Field Guide is a collection of all the people, places and things in the series, which would draw exclusively from the people, places and events created to write the novels.)?

Apologies if it’s already been covered somewhere…just couldn’t find it.

Jaime Buckley
Creator of Wanted:Hero



You’ve got a choice. You can create either multiple projects, with a manuscript per project, or a single project containing multiple manuscripts. In the former case, you could drag-and-drop “collective-pool” folders and files between them. In the latter case, you could simple compile one manuscript at a time.

If the latter, this thread will get you started.


Another thing you can do (and maybe this is in the cross-linked thread above), if the universe info isn’t too bulky, is write the serials in a single project. Create a top-level folder for each book in the Draft area. This way all of the books benefit from the same pool, and can use cross-references and linking, not to mention the advantages of being able to perform one search to locate a detail—even if it is another book entirely. To work this way, you just need to familiarise yourself with the Content pane in the Compile interface, which allows you to select a top-level compile group other than Draft. You can, in other words, treat each book folder in the draft as a separate manuscript.

The main risk with this approach is, as said, bulk. If we are talking a couple of a gigabytes of background and universe information, it would put a strain on your ability to keep your works in progress backed up. In such cases, an outboard project with the bulk of the background information is preferable. That way the manuscripts are kept tidy and easy to back up every night (at the least).

Thank you Hugh for the suggestion. Let me clarify my thinking to make sure I follow:

The series I’m writing was meant for a 93 issue comic book series. Unfortunately I lost the use of my hands less than a week before the release of issue 14. So the story is a long one. My wife and I believe at least 13 novels for the central story and then branches thereafter.

That being said, would the patter suggestion mean that I use the ‘Part’ folders as the books, create a subsection folder as the ‘new parts’ of a novel and a sub-subsection as the chapters?

(wow, say that 5 times fast, eh? not used to being so organized…this is quite fun)

Right, you’d basically bump everything down a level. There isn’t really any such thing as a Part or a Chapter or a Scene in Scrivener. These things are just called these things because that is what we typed in when we made them. :slight_smile: So it won’t mess anything up to move everything down a step so it is Book/Part/Chapter, instead of Part/Chapter. In other words, create a new top-level folder called “Book” and move all of the parts relating to that book into that folder. The binder is very flexible, and in many usages, can be used to create structure which has no bearing at all in the final manuscript (hidden smaller sections of text, if you will, combined together in compile so that the reader will never know you wrote them in six pieces instead of one long piece called “Chapter 23”).

Wow, Amber. I love this idea. Two years ago I released a wiki version of my universe. Had spent two years as a labor of love, then released it. I’m not a programmer, so my knowledge of how to keep things secure was anything but adequate. After a few months, the wiki was hacked and it had to be deleted in whole. Broke my heart. So the thought of having the info linked makes me smile.

I see the bulk problem, but unless the program itself would be hindered, would this only be a problem of having enough HD space to back it up? If that’s the case, I have terabytes, so that’s not a problem. Each comic book was 1.4 gigs anyway (art files), so I’m used to backing up.

Thus to put your idea into play, I need to learn about the Content pane?
Time to read this whole manual it sounds like.

Thank you very much, I appreciate both your suggestions.

Brilliant! Pure and simple. …and I see the drag and drop too, what a dream.
I may be new to all this, but I believe you amazing folks made this tool for the destitute like myself :smiley:. We have a deep appreciation for powerful inventors of such remarkable tools…

(yes, that was intended buttering in gratitude…)

Is there a limit to the sub folders I can make Amber?
Now with the template sheets, can they be compiled into a book in and of themselves?

You might also find this case study helpful, as it talks about managing serial novels in Scrivener projects.

There’s no limit (theoretically) to the number of subfolders you can make. As mentioned in the above article (and probably in some of the other threads listed here, I didn’t read them through), you can always drag out to another project pieces that you don’t need–e.g. anything specific to a single novel you might have in your main project while working on that novel, but once it’s complete and you’re through with it, you might move the novel-specific files to another project–thus keeping them available if you want them again, but out of the way of your immediate work as you get started on the next novel.

Template sheets can compile just like any other file in the Binder.

One other resource I forgot to mention is our case studies section on the main website. There is a good-sized article on working with serial novels in Scrivener from an author who does this all of the time.

At 93 issues, 1.4gb each? That’s going to be straining the Scrivener project point far, far beyond its intended limits. :slight_smile: That’s over a terabyte for the project, which means each backup will be over 1tb[size=80][1][/size]. I must in good conscience state for the record that we don’t recommend that much material in a .scriv project file. Theoretically it is possible, but honestly we are probably talking hours of backup time per instance. The backup system is really designed more for smaller groups of data, especially because it does a whole-project backup, rather than partials based on what has changed (like Time Machine does). That’s going to be the main hinderance. At this scale, there might be other issues to—honestly we have never tested the product at that scale. Tens of thousands of small text files; hundreds of bulky graphics—yes, but only in the 2gb range. You would be in uncharted territory as far as I know. Largest project I’ve ever heard of was 11gb.

You might do better using the References feature for the artwork. References are stored on a per-document basis, so each item in your outline has its own reference list. Additionally the entire project has a universal list too. References just store a location to a file on your drive. Drag a file into the Inspector’s Reference table (yeah, more manual reading), and from that point on you have a useful link to that resource. There is a description column so you can annotate the link; referenced files, if in a format Scrivener can view, can be dragged to a split for full frame viewing; double-clicked to load them in an external viewer; and so on.

Something some people like to do is treat Scrivener’s corkboard like a library. Create a reference card for each item you want to import, and then attach the item to its reference list, describing the file in the index card text field.

One important thing you will want to familiarise yourself with, if you intend to work in projects over several hundred megabytes in size, is the [b]File/Back Up/Exclude from Automatic Backups[/b] command. By default Scrivener dupes your project into a backup folder whenever you close it or quit the application while it is open. With very large projects, this can mean waiting tens of minutes or longer for Scrivener to shut down. You’ll want to handle backups manually for big projects.

Either that or shut down the whole automatic system entirely or modify its premises. That’s all set up in [b]Scrivener/Preferences...[/b] under the Backups pane.

Yeah, and the Formatting pane, too, if you intend to let Scrivener normalise your formatting and produce automatic title naming and numbering. By default these will assume the Draft contains one book, so the format rules will all need to be bumped down a step, too. Fortunately you can defer that step for later. Since the compiler is used toward the end of the project’s life, you can leave learning its intricacies for later.

Probably, technically speaking an array might run out of memory eventually, but getting there might very well take uninterrupted months of pounding on the Make New Folder command to break it.

Yes, with caveats, they just produce copies of whatever the original was. So if the original item itself cannot exist in the Draft, such as a PDF or JPEG, then it cannot be spawned into the Draft folder. For folders and files though, absolutely. In fact, using a folder with some pre-built skeletal structure as your template is a nice way to work.

Update: Just re-read and saw that 14 issues got made, not 93—so that brings the total size back down into the realm of Insane, rather than Mind Explodingly Mad. :slight_smile: — not to mention that my skill at math is horrible.


LOL, I’m sorry Amber, I wasn’t clear. :blush: That’s just what I’m used to backing up. That’s not what I WILL be backing up. It was only an example, nothing more. I am creating much smaller files for some art (.png’s and .jpeg’s) but the bulk will be written word only, so though there will be many files, they won’t come close to what I had to do with making a comic book.

I apologize for that confusion. :confused: This is a novel series, not comic books…

I can’t imagine having 11gb for the whole series if 90% or better is the written word. I am excited to use the research feature to collect science articles from the web as references, but beyond that, it will be material I’ve created over 20+ years myself. Sketches and art will be scanned in and use selectively for the final printing, though if I find that including the actual art for print is helpful in the process, I might as well compile that too.

MimeticMouton this was the exact type of example I was looking for!

Just finished the first video and have followed all the advice thus far, including the steps to creating my own template. The flexibility and order is simply mind blowing for me. Can’t express how grateful I feel for all of your help!

Started importing the books already written into Scrivener. Created chapters, notes, …wow.

No worries. I’m already you biggest admirer-er on this board just for the prompt help. I only opened up the program today and I’m making great progress…SO stoked. :wink:

BTW–thank you for the backup tip too. That will help a lot.
I think I’ll let the auto save ride until I come to that waiting problem. I’m a forgetful man–11 kids took a lot from me and my last brain cell needs all the help it can get! :smiley: