Relational Notes

Here’s a crazy one - but it could be a game changer:

As I’m transcribing handwritten or voice notes into Scrivener, I often face difficult decisions about which notes document each note gets poured into. Frequently, a given note is relevant to multiple scenes or chapters (or sections of notes), and ought to go in several notes docs (not least so I see it when I need it - all the times I need it!). The kludgy solution is of course just to paste the same text into all the notes docs it might be relevant to (which is what I do). Much cooler and more elegant would be a relational solution - the ability to designate a given block of text as being some other sub-document type, like e.g. a “snippet” - and then being able to include that snippet in as many documents as I want. (And when it changed in one place, it would change in the others.)

Apologies if there’s a way to do this already! - say with Scrivenings, which don’t seem quite right - and as it would hardly be the first time. (Scrivener very often surprises me with what it can already do…)

Thanks as always for making my writing life great! (Not to mention possible!)

Can’t you create each note once in a separate folder, giving it a short descriptive name, then link to it in the text.

On the Mac (not sure for Windows) you could use the following features / settings to facilitate this:

  • Preferences > Corrections: Automatically detect [[Scrivener Links]]

  • Preferences > Navigation: Tick ‘Create back-link references when creating Scrivener Links and References’, then adjust the three options below to read ‘Quick Reference Panel’. (Ie Open references / clicked Scrivener links / newly created Scrivener Links.)

The process would then be:

  1. Create your note with a short descriptive title in (say) a Notes folder: e.g. “Description of the gardener”

  2. In the scene, when you want to use that note, create a Scrivener Link to that note (i.e. from the Edit > Scrivener Link menu or by clicking cmd-L, or simply by typing [[Description of the gardener]]).

  3. Click on the link and the note will be opened in a Quick Reference panel. You can edit it there and of course, the changes will appear every time you clink on the link.

You’ll see that the Note Inspector References panel includes links back to the scenes which reference the note.

You’ll have to play around to find a workflow which suits you, but it might be worth exploring.