Using scrivener links to link small ideas


I have a novel project where the ideas are extremely interrelated, meaning it’s very difficult if not impossible to organize it in a linear fashion. Thus, I want to create links that lead not only to other files, but to specific other words or sections in the same file or in other files - is this possible?

For example, let’s say I have a chapter and a different file with a deleted scene from that chapter. Within the deleted scene, there’s a section of dialogue that it is important and must be placed somewhere else in the chapter (though I don’t know where yet). Thus, in my document notes for the chapter itself, I state the reason this section of dialogue is important and link to the “deleted scene.” However, if the deleted scene is long, it might be hard to find the exact section (or perhaps I won’t be able to find it at all or know where it should start/end, unless I describe it obsessively in the document notes, which makes the link obsolete and also makes it such that too much duplicate information exists in separate places.)

Wikis more or less do this (or at least you can link to “sections”), and you can also accomplish it using nonsense words (ie. have a link and also include the word “grompilzonian” at both note and reference points which allows me to search for the exact passage) but I want to know if there’s a more efficient way to do this - certainly there must be other writers who wish to do this sort of thing.

Any help is appreciated.

I think your only way of accomplishing this is to split your documents so that you can link to a doc with only the text you are interested in. You can organize these things in their own folders or stacks of documents, and view them in Scrivenings mode to see the entire text together.

There’s not a way to use Scrivener links to go to a specific section within the document, no. What will be coming that will help this though is inspector comments and text bookmarks. The way inspector comments will work is somewhat like margin comments you might see in other text editors, but rather than staying fixed next to the text they annotate, they’ll all float to the top of the inspector where you can use them as bookmarks–click in the comment and you’ll immediately be scrolled down to the place in the document that it references. This is especially cool when you’re working in a Scrivenings session, since you can go through the comments of different documents and be taken to exactly the right place, but in a longer text document it will also be beneficial. So in your case, you might use the document reference to link to your deleted scene from the existing chapter, then once you’ve loaded that scene, just click the comment to jump to the important part of dialogue.

Text bookmarks will be a little different but with the same idea of jumping you to the important part of your text. They’re essentially just inline annotations, but a menu in the editor header will let you see the list of all the bookmarks you’ve created in that document and clicking one will take you to that spot. So again, you’d use the Scrivener link in references to take you to that document, then use the bookmarks to jump to the right place.

What you can do now is use inline annotations to mark your text and use your keywords there–rather than a nonsense word, I’d suggest something meaningful that you can develop into a system, e.g. “TODO” or “Keep this” or whatever, possibly a combination. For instance, I might use “Edit: contradiction - this disagrees with the earlier scene where blah blah blah happened” and “Edit: fact check” and so on. You can then use Find by Formatting to search for annotations and search for specific words in the annotations, so you can easily jump through your document or your entire project looking for annotations containing “Edit” or just “Edit: contradiction” or whatever. Similar to what you’re doing with the nonsense word, I imagine, but with the annotations you can keep them inline but separate from the main text, and you can provide as much further information to yourself as you want: “Keep this - This paragraph is great and has some vital information for the plot, but the rest of the scene does nothing to aid the story. Develop a new scene around this paragraph?” Also, with colored annotations, it’s a lot easier to find the relevant parts just scrolling through the text.

The other option, as you suggest with the wiki-style, is to split your scene into still smaller chunks, or at least to split into its own section the key part you want to keep. You might then end up with a single scene made up up three small documents (grouped under a container document, if you like), which you can view together in a Scrivenings session to read the whole thing through or link to just the relevant passage via the Scrivener link.