Scrivener suitable for a kind of adventure book project?

Thanks to all of you who read following question of mine in advance, I appreciate the time you spent.

I am currently working on a writing project and look for a framework which supports the project in an efficient way. For this scrivener has coming to my attention and I have the impression it might support what I need. Before spending more time or try the trial edition, i would like to ask you as practitioners if you can confirm my impression.

You can imagine the type of my project as a kind of adventure book, where you will jump between sections dependent on decisions taken by the readers, events induced by a timeline, random results from e.g. throwing a dice.
As result the final book is ordered by ascending section id only, without logical order between neigbored sections 1, 2, 3 and so forth.
The actual content consists of a number of different plot threads which provide the overall plot. Each plot thread consists out of 1 to N of these sections.

What I want to do now is writing plot thread based, creating the plots and their individual sections. When the project is done I want to rip the plot threads apart and scatter the individual sections randomly over the book. The reader is then guided by section ids through plot threads and the overall plot.

Question 1: Can I work and order during creation process based on criteria a, the plot threads, providing random section ids for the individual sections within the thread. For compilation of the actual book can I use then a different criteria b, the section ids, for arrangment?

Question 2: Can I link e.g. decisions within one section, to the outcomes of the decisions provided in other sections? Idea is that in electronic format (website, ebook), the reader does not have to search and turn pages, but can simply tap on a link and can continue reading.

Question 3: Due to the nature of the book, the reader will have several potential flows through it. He can read it several times, always discovering something new or facing a different end. When providing scrivener the information about the potential different flows by links, will it be able to automatically generate a good overview of the overall structure?

Question 1: Yes. I would do this by assigning Labels for each plot thread, while using random IDs for the actual titles.

Question 2: Yes. This would be accomplished via the Document Link functionality.

Question 3: Maybe? As I said, you can use Labels to look at each plot thread individually. Any of Scrivener’s standard views will show you the order in which the sections actually appear.

I’d recommend having a look at the trial version, though, as that’s the best way to see how these ideas might work in practice.

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@3: you probably won’t get a “Sitemap” kind of Overview from Scrivener. You can get an Table of Contents or list of Document Links…

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Thanks a lot, will give scrivener a try and report back.

Keeping an overview about the different potential flows will be one challenge, but lets see.

I think that in your shoes I’d use a mind-map software for that.
In Scrivener, you can create a link that points to a binder element, and that you can paste anywhere (even outside of Scrivener), and that launches the project and displays that one document.
You could paste such links in your mind map.

This way you’d have a picture of the whole, with ramifications, and a quick access to the corresponding documents.


Thanks for the time spend reading my post and providing answers. I spend a whole day getting into scrivener and how it might suit my needs.

Following some feedback. It is not intended to be criticism, but well just feedback which could be valuable when wanting to get an idea about the first experience of a “newbie”.

  1. I got a “test”-project up and running and was able to transfer my first thread to scrivener :smiley:.

  2. As the thread is not bound by logical order but spread over the whole book in random order, i used labels and even better collections to be able to switch quickly to a kind of thread based view. Seems to work fine with me. The highlight was the view where all the documents are appended and I can work at one holistic thread which is spread over several documents.

  3. Being used to work with dark modes, I changed the theme. The default highlighting color (e.g. when holding shift and use the cursor keys) was to dark, so I had to change that.

  4. There is no possibility to link from one place within a document to another within the same document. So I further split apart some files into smaller ones for being able to place links, now as document links. Not convinced yet it works for me with the whole project, but for the first thread it was possible to subdivide.

  5. When compiling to .pdf all the set links are gone. I had to compile first as ebook and then from my ebook reader print/convert it to pdf. That worked, but its queer that scrivener can not do it right away.

  6. I had used lists within the documents. Interestingly this seemed to garble up to some formatting. I used e.g. coloring of the first word in a list sentence. In two documents the coloring was visible in the editor but not the compiled version. In other documents using lists the color got transferred to the compiled document. Queer ?

  7. Due to the nature of the project I use indents quite a lot. It was quite some fiddling to get it working. Especially irritating, that the WYIWYG is not what you get. With first compiled versions the editor version and the compiled version looked different indention wise.

  8. Played with styles and changed it for a lead text of a section to heading. Again I used a different color for the first word, again it was visible in the editor but not in the compiled document. Makes me nervous if it can happen more often that editor and compiled versions are not in sync.

  9. The ability to define and use placeholders by include variable, seems to be quite a catch for me :smiley:, very nice.

Handling of links is configurable. Start with the “gear” icon on the right hand pane of the main Compile screen, which includes the option to remove hyperlinks.

Probably something else is different between the two documents. For instance if you are overriding the text formatting, that could include removing the color.

Again, this would depend on the Compile settings. The Compile command can both change tab stops overall and remove first line indents.

Be sure to read the section in the manual about how Styles interact with the Compile command.