Saving a Snapshot of a Corkboard Outline

Hey there,

So I am yet another Scrivener-lover and right now I happen to be writing a screenplay (although I will soon be writing a YA novel).

From my screenwriting training, I’m a huge fan of the index card outlining system. Just makes sense for the way my brain works.

What I would love to do, however, is to be able to preserve a given “state” of the arrangement of the cards on the corkboard so I can screw around with them and then just quickly go back to an earlier version if I decide that one was better.

Is there an easy way to do this? I can imagine saving different versions of the entire Scrivener file, but that seems very cumbersome and I’m pretty sure the clever Literature & Latte folks will have come up with a better solution than this.

Again, the idea is to be able to take a “snapshot” of a given configuration of cards on the corkboard. As it happens, I have them arranged in folders, which represent different “Acts” of the script, so I am selecting multiple folders, which then cause the cards for multiple acts to show up simultaneously in a large grid where I can see the whole film at once.

There’s also always a screenshot, but the film actually contains too many cards with too much written on each card to see the whole thing at once on my 15" MacBook Pro.

Any help very much appreciated in advance!



There isn’t a way of doing this directly. We toyed with that idea a long time ago, but there are just too many problems once you apply the idea to all of the possible abuses that could be subjected upon it (and alas, we must think that way when designing things).

There are some things to consider:

  • Collections: this is in fact the UI that arose from these discussions. It solves the many problems that would arise from manipulating the Binder objects directly, by creating “aliases” of the items. Yes, it is a flat list, and that means you cannot do a full snapshot of an outline with it, but in part the whole flat-list limitation is response to why full outline snapshots would be problematic. The possibility for items to become tangled and orphaned in a dependency oriented system are high, but in a flat list if objects go missing or entirely re-ordered, it doesn’t impact the items around them.
  • Backups: don’t be afraid of making ‘em! Modern computers have oodles of drive space, and text is one of the most space-efficient forms of data in existence. You can store whole university libraries in the amount of space it takes to save a few movies. Yeah, it might feel clunky, especially if you (like myself) grew up in the era of tight economic constraints in data storage—where every byte mattered, but these days it is really of no negative consequence if you have a hundred backups of your WIP, and I would submit that everyone should. The [b]File/Back Up/Back Up To...[/b] command should be a constant ally.
  • Draft duplications: All right, backups are good but maybe your project has several movies in it. :slight_smile: Clicking on the Draft folder in the Binder and hitting Cmd-D is a great way to stash a full “snapshot” of your WIP at any point in time. Sign and date it, and tuck it away in a sub-folder somewhere. Why just snapshot the order of things, when you can have the order and the full context for that order at your disposal? If you need to revert the order but not the content, you can simply unfold that portion of the outline and use it as a reference against the Draft.

Have you tried the freeform version of the cork board? You can see your entire draft’s worth of index cards all at once, and play with the arrangement of cards without an impact on the binder’s structure.

Thanks so much for the speedy reply! Sounds like the “Draft” function will pretty much do exactly what I’m talking about.

Rock on, guys. You’re amazing.