Scribbles, research and collections

I was wondering how other (maybe non-fiction) writers organize their projects. Being new to scrivener, I find it sometimes hard to get out of the “copy and paste and scribble everything into a loooong documents, cleaning up styles, word order, format etc as I go along” Word-writing mode.
Yesterday I realized, that maybe Scrivener offers a much better way: Wouldn’t it be nice to have fairly “clean” files with the actual outcome of all of my musings, and other files with all the notes etc? With the split pane view it is actually quite easy: viewing the pieces of information in one window, and writing down clever text in the other.
I keep the “scribble files” underneath the parts I feel they belong to and have even colour-coded them proud.
Also, I’ve set up a collection for the “scribbles”, so I have an overview what has to grow and what has to go (eventually).

I am really interested in how other people organize their stuff, and if there are other ways of dealing with toooo much information. Also: do ou think that using the collections this way makes sense?

Have a great day! :smiley:

I don’t know about using Collections in the way you describe, but non-fction Scrivenistas’ favoured method of dealing with “too much information” is to use a second application, a dedicated information management programme, in which to store it, and then transfer selections from it per project to the Scrivener Research folder. That way Scrivener projects remain light and nimble and quick to back-up.

The evidence of these forums is that the favoured application for this purpose is one of the DevonThinks – Pro or Office – although there are several others (Together and Eaglefiler, for example) that people also use.

Hm… I’ll have a look into all the applications you mentioned. Thanks :slight_smile:

All the same, if you don’t have such a surplus of research you need a dedicated database to handle it, the method you’re using sounds good. Really, Scrivener’s all about whatever works for you. (To be fair, I’ve never written a project with a heavy enough research base that I’ve needed external software.) And no matter where you keep your research, you will need to be able to make notes on it, so there will still be that organization to tackle. Your use of collections makes sense to me, at least the way I understand your Binder layout, e.g.

Research doc A

  • notes on A
    Research doc B
  • notes on B
  • a few more notes on B that I made at 2am while highly caffeinated!
    Research doc C
  • addendum to doc C
  • notes on C

…in which case your Binder makes sense structurally with the documents and their notes being kept together, but having a collection of just the notes would be an easy way to just skim through your thoughts on the topics and a nice way to transition into your writing by working from your notes instead of directly from the research. And it’s not like you have to ration your use of Collections, so have as many as you want and need. If you start writing Section A and it deals with notes from A and C and some images you’re storing in a “images from X location”, while you’re working you could pull together a Collection for that, selecting the different pieces of the binder you need.

Another useful trick, depending on the format of your research documents, might be inline notes or comments. PDFs won’t work for this, but if you have text documents (or have converted your PDFs and archived webpages and so on to text) then you can use the annotations to mark them up and then copy or compile just the annotations if you want to have them together in a handy sheet. How useful you’ll find that probably depends on your note taking method, and whether having them stripped from the contextual research will make them incomprehensible or not. :wink:

Highly caffeinated??? Have we met before? :wink:

Thanks for the hint about the inline comments! I have tried that before but did not really consider using “whole documents”… clever!!!

Actually, it is a joy to see how the stuff progresses… or I make it progress… or my coffee does :mrgreen: