Tracking Research Elements in Narrative

Hello, I am a new poster although long time lurker of these forums. I’ve been using Scrivener for two years and feel I’ve only scratched the surface of its capabilities.

I love reading about how others have organized their work; it always gives me food for thought about my own projects. I’m looking for ideas from others - best practices, or perhaps showing me features of Scrivener I haven’t yet discovered - to handle my problem.

I have an ongoing fiction project that compiles out to around 1500 pages at the moment. There are elements of my world building that I realize are still only in my head, so even though I’ve written things based on those ideas, without the benefit of being in my head a reader may not see the full picture. I’ve tried to expand my research folders/files to include as many details as I’ve defined. But now I need some way to track if I’ve managed to incorporate this information into the narrative in some way or if I need to add to or augment what is already there to be more clear. (Or to see if I’ve been completely consistent in how things are supposed to work.)

Something like if I have an element “Travel along the main conduit is in both directions but travel along the supplementary paths is in one direction only” - then I could flag this in some way to indicate: “Demonstrated in scene x where main character tries and fails to go backwards.”

Ideally I could set this up somehow to easily spot the areas where I still need to edit.

Any thoughts?

Have you tried using keywords and/or custom metadata? You can assign whatever name you want to these signifiers and attach them to any document you need them to be attached to. Then you can search your documents by keyword or metadata, sort them this way, view them in Outliner mode, etc. Food for thought.

If you keep all details in your research folders, broken down to one document per detail you want to incorporate, and you assign those “research” (it’s not exactly research, but anyway) to the document references of the scenes in your draft where you make use of the information, the assignment gets documented in both ways: you see in the novel which reference documents are connected, but you see in the reference document which novel parts are referenced, too.

Thanks for the ideas.

If I’m understanding correctly, I think Sanguinius is suggesting I create “scenes” in the draft for each of the elements and use a keyword or label to track the status. Because I don’t think research files appear in outline view. I was thinking that better use of metadata would be involved, but just wasn’t sure the best way to set it up.

While AndreasE is saying that there’s a way to link the research files to draft files using references. I think this must be one of those gems of Scrivener that I haven’t yet explored. I look forward to figuring it out.

Much appreciated!

This is in fact the way Scrivener is intended to be used: One document in the draft folder for each scene of the novel. (Some use even smaller chunks.) This makes the text manageable.

And the references are in the inspector (the pane to the right). Down in the bottom area of the inspector, there are several registers: notes to the document, keywords, snapshots etc. – the references are the second register. Here you can link any other document in the project, and as I said, every link is visible on both sides.

Supposed, you have a research document on the Louvre, and you have scene 1 and scene 77 playing there, you could create the document for scene 1, add the link to the Louvre research (pictures, infos etc.), and the same for scene 77. Then you would see in the references of scene 1 “Infos Louvre”, in the references of scene 77 as well, and in the references of “Info Louvre”, you would see: “Scene 1”, “Scene 77”. This would tell you that this information has been used in two occasions.

(The main purpose of research references is, however: If you double-click on them, the referenced document opens in a split window so you can see its content while writing in the other document at the same time.)

Yes, I was assuming that you have a separate document for each scene in your novel. Each scene could then have its own keywords or metadata attached to them, so that you can sort them quickly by any number of criteria, if required.