Short stories

Hello, folks.

I’ve seen the posts regarding multiple novels set in the same world, and I have something similar. I’m working on a short story collection set in the same world, with many crossover characters and settings. In addition, I write stand-alone short stories that share nothing with anything else I write (except their author, of course). I’m wondering the best way to do both of these things in Scrivener.

Obviously, for the collection set in the same world, I’d like to keep it in one Scrivener file, but I’m worried about the ability to compile individual stories. I know you can select which documents to compile, and I know there’s an Opt for Select/Deselect All, but is there an Opt for Select/Deselecting documents in one single folder?

Also, is there any setback that you can see to having individual Scrivener files, perhaps kept in the same folder on your computer, for each story?

Any other advice, experience, etc. regarding short stories and Scrivener would be lovely.

I keep a separate .scriv file for each short.

In my research folder, I keep the synopsis/inquiry letters/submission track, etc. As the compile file is housed externally, I can call up a very specific compile that includes the idiosyncrasies of a particular submission target. (Some want italics underlined and some prefer the italics themselves, etc. Some prefer TNR some Courier - although God only knows why. I find Courier almost illegible - but I digress.) It bugs me to have to check/uncheck stuff as I ALWAYS mess this up and have to compile multiple times until I get it right.

Because it is so easy to cut and paste/drag and drop between scriv files, I prefer to keep them separate with the title of the piece being the scriv file name.


Going the opposite route, I’ll just say that it’s easy in compile to just select a specific folder within the Draft to compile, so you could have each of your stories contained in their own Draft subfolder and then just select that folder from the compile menu and then within that choose with the tick marks whether to compile all the contained documents or just some, etc. You can also compile specific collections, so you might create a collection for a set of stories that are going to be published together, for instance, and then compile just that collection. The compile options are quite powerful, so none of that should really be a concern when you’re figuring out how you want to organize your stories–it can definitely be as easy as compiling just a single story per project.

Likewise, if you have different formatting requirements for different submissions, you can save the compile settings and then just load whichever you want (saving the settings would make them available to all projects, so this could be done whether you choose to keep your stories in one project or in many.)

For myself, I’d probably choose to keep most of the related stories together in a single project, if they were closely related enough that I would likely be continually referencing the same information–it would just make it easier for me to not have to have multiple projects open and switch between them, and I wouldn’t end up duplicating research information, etc. That said, I also have plenty of smaller projects that are distinct, so I can’t think of any reason that a bunch of little projects are a problem. It would really just be a matter of the shared resources and the ability to quickly reference other material for fact checking, etc. while I worked. I’ve done this for similar sorts of projects and for multiple novels, although in the latter case since it ends up as a much bigger project I trim down between so that I don’t have all the revisions and edits of each novel stacking up and making the project gargantuan. But a clean copy of the manuscript and all the cross-novel notes and research all remain at hand, which I like.

Question. Is there a way to do this quickly, or does it consist of checking every little box, etc.?

That is, suppose I have a folder for Story A and another folder for Story B in my Draft folder. Each of those story sub-folders has multiple scenes (one scene per page). When I go to compile Story A, can I just click Story A (or some key combination and then Story A sub-folder) or do I have to click every page within Story A, etc.?

Also, I’m leaning towards your idea… keeping related stories together in one project and then unrelated stories separate. The problem then becomes degree… I have a world called Palia, for instance, and a series of main characters I write about. But I do write stories about other, unrelated Palians. Do I keep one file for Tristys and Rami and a separate file for all the other Palia stories, or do I keep one big Palia file, including the T&R stories? I know there’s no right answer… so I’ll have to think about it.

I swear, I spend more time thinking about and messing with things like this than I do actually writing!

It’s quick. New documents are always set to be included in compile by default (meaning, if they are contained in the Draft or in the specific folder/collection being compiled, they will be included), so you’d only be deselecting the ones you didn’t want included–presumably a smaller set There are also ways to employ filters to narrow down your selection, so for instance if you only wanted all documents in folder Story A that also had the status “Ready to Print”. Selecting the folder you want to compile is just done via a drop-down menu (which lets you choose any containers within the Draft, any collections, or the current binder selection). And then any specific documents you mark to not include in the draft will have that status remembered, so you won’t have to redo it every time.

As I said, for me a lot of it comes down to how often I want to reference other related material. If you have a lot of research about your world and you’re going to want to be checking that or updating it regularly as you write your other stories, it may be easier to just keep them all together, but in a new folder in the binder just for them (thus letting you collapse all the subdocuments when you weren’t working there–Hoisting is a great tool also for focusing on just a specific section of the binder while you work). On the other hand, if they’re so distinct that you aren’t likely to need to get at that other material or the material you need is not going to be relevant to the other stories and vice versa, it might be more beneficial to just create a new lightweight project.

In either case, it’s easy to drag and drop between projects, so if you change your mind later it shouldn’t be too difficult to adjust your projects. In the end you’ll probably just need to start working and see how things fall into place.