I’ve recently run into a big problem in Scrivener with managing/planning/brainstorming, while working on an epic multi-book series, and I’d like to know if there’s a solution for it.
The problem I have, is that when I’m planning character arcs, I use the outliner to create individual text files for each important plot point and scenes for the character’s arc. These aren’t meant to have actual texts inside the text files–I"m just using the Title and Synopsis fields. For every important character, I have a folder called “So-and-so’s Arc,” and inside the folder are the text files being used in the outliner view.
In the actual manuscript section of the binder, I’m also using the outliner to plan the series of plot points and scenes, and there’s a lot of overlap with what I have already done for the individual character arcs. Right now, I’m just duplicating the text files in the character arc folders and then moving them to the manuscript section, or simply copy&paste the title and synopsis from the outliner fields to a text file in the manuscript section.
As you can see, that redundancy is not ideal. Also, sometimes multiple important characters are in the same scenes together, so that means in their individual character arcs, I’d have to duplicate the same text files multiple times for each of their character arc folders. That is also not ideal and creates lots of redundancy.
I have tried using collections, but it’s not ideal because in order for that method to work, I would have to choose a “master set” of files, and the manuscript section is the logical choice. Then I would use metadata to create collections for each of the character’s arcs, so I can focus on looking at each character’s arc one at a time.
The problem I ran into with the collection method, is that often there are back-stories in a character’s arc that I don’t necessarily want to appear in the actual book, but I need to have records of them in the character’s arc, so I will remember them, and maybe in the future write them into the story. If I were to use the manuscript section as my master set of files, there wouldn’t be any place to put those “orphan files” that are necessary for the character arc planning but shouldn’t appear in the manuscript. And if I were to do it in reverse and use the individual character arc folders as the master set, and then use the collection to create the actual manuscript, that just becomes very convoluted and messy. Also, using collection to create the manuscript section means I can’t use the outliner view to look at the manuscript (I’ve tried but there doesn’t seem to be a way to do that). This is a problem because I do need the title and synopsis and progress fields in the outliner view when working on the manuscript.
So what I’d like to know, is if there’s a way to easily reference files without duplicating them, so I only need to create a text file once, but then can reference it in multiple locations in the binder, as if it’s been duplicated in those various locations. Also, I would need to be able to arrange the referenced and the original version in whatever order I want without them messing up each other’s ordering (which I think already works in the collection view).
I don’t know if there’s a more advanced way to use the collection view to achieve what I’m asking about, or if what I need is outside the scope of the collection view’s capability.