Scrivener Collections

March 25, 2013

I'm a long-time Scrivener aficionado but I tend to make use of it fairly simplistically: straight outlining and writing, and some storage of notes, research and submissions in its Research section.

This weekend I discovered a highly practical, new-to-me feature: Scrivener Collections. I haven't touched Story 2 for a while due to other projects, but went back to it last week to make some long-needed edits based on some feedback I received last fall. Because Story 2 has a complex structure, with two interleaved narratives and three points of view, I was struggling with how to review each narrative on its own for consistency. Then I thought to myself, "Someone must have approached Scrivener with a similar problem", so I rooted around through the menus and found Collections.

Collections allows you to easily group files in Scrivener. Because I write each scene as a separate document (which came in very handy when I was testing out various different interleavings of my past/present narratives), it was also dirt simple to add the appropriate files for a given narrative to a collection. In under minute I'd multi-selected the files I wanted and dropped them into either what I named a Now collection, or a Then collection.

The collections then show up in the left sidebar, and allow me to easily switch between viewing my whole book or just a given narrative. The nice thing is that it doesn't touch the main structure in the Binder, so that my chosen overall layout for the book remains as-is.

I plan to make more extensive use of this feature now that I know about it. I can see it coming in handy for reviewing entire sub-plots, character arcs, points of view, sub-narratives, you name it.

One comment on “Scrivener Collections”

  1. Thank you for posting this! I was wondering was the utility of Collections actually was. I have been looking for another way to sort my book project besides just using keywords. This is it.

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