Hello, Story Empire readers! Today, I’d like to cover a topic about Scrivener that may help a few of you out when you didn’t know you needed help. A while back, I wrote on this blog about using Auto-complete and Keywords. Today, I’m going to expand on those tools in regard to developing a series of books in Scrivener.
The best way to develop a series using Scrivener is to use a single project. This means you should create each book in the series within the series project. There are several reasons to develop your series this way:
- You have fewer projects to track. Much like I use Scrivener to develop a year’s worth of blogs in one project to reduce the number of them, having a single project for a book series is much easier to manage.
- You only have one set of development notes to juggle. If you’re like me, you tend to have notes in all kinds of places but sticking to a single project means you have your notes in a central location and not scattered across numerous files and projects. This helps you keep your series consistent and work faster because you know where everything is – in that single project.
- You can manage your series project meta-data from a single project without re-creating all of it for each book you write – that’s a real time-saver because using meta-data to track your project is very handy (for more information, see my post about the Inspector).
4. There are a number of features to make use of that can be a time-saver too:
A. Using Auto-complete in a single project means you only create one list of terms for multiple books instead of doing the reverse: the same list in multiple projects. Need to bring back a character from an earlier book? Simple, it’s already in the Auto-complete list if you’ve been using it. Think about this really well: how many opportunities you might have to misspell just one character’s name in one book? Now multiple that by three books. Now think that through for lots of names and terms from your books (really big number for a fantasy author). That’s a lot of typing and editing you can save yourself by having all the books in a series in one project.
B. Set-up your document templates for the entire book series and you don’t waste lots of time making numerous changes just to write new scenes and chapters.
C. The same goes for Project Notes, the Scratchpad, Layouts (these are a whole other subject to be covered soon), projects stats, collections (if you develop a whole series, these can be very handy for editing consistency) and anything else you use for books within a series.
If there’s one idea you take away from this post today, it’s how you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by making Scrivener work for you. Scrivener was developed to make life much easier for all writers so start with this idea and limit the number of projects you create and then use the tools within Scrivener to make your work smoother and faster. More effective use of time means more time to create content, less time wasted in frustration and more time away from writing to do something else you enjoy.
When I first started using Scrivener, The Bow of Hart Saga was developed in 3 separate projects. The first 2 books were morphing from much older versions and it made sense to complete them without challenging myself too much while trying to learn the software.
However, with my newer projects, I’m developing the entire series in a single project so I can keep notes, Auto-complete lists and many other details in order. It’s much easier for me because I don’t need lots of projects open to find what I need to keep writing. I can simply work on a manuscript without a lot of concern for tracking details. Scrivener is designed to be your whiteboard, your outliner and your editor software. Work to understand the power and scope of the software as a development tool and put it to good use. I’m working on newer content now and I find it even more helpful than when I originally started using it.
Have you developed a book series in one Scrivener project? If so, share how it made your writing easier. What Scrivener features free-up your writing time across several books? Share your responses and thoughts in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.