Scrivener Collections & Editing

Holiday greetings to all the Story Empire readers. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year. This is my last post of 2018 so I’ll try to make it informative. It’s been a busy year with lots of changes and work, but Scrivener has always been helpful all year long. Here’s some useful tips for using collections in Scrivener for editing that may help you keep everything straight for editing in 2019.

I’d like to address the usage of collections tool by focusing on how a handled structural editing of my second novel, An Arrow Against the Wind. First, let me define structural edit. This is the kind of editing where you might re-organize your draft so that flows better. It’s also the type of editing whereby you discover all the holes and inconsistencies within the draft and try to fill them. Another way of addressing the structure is to bring consistency to style as well as characterization, plot and other basic elements of the book.

Next let me describe the situation with my rough draft and how I’m approaching it. While writing An Arrow Against the Wind, I realized I had numerous holes to fill. This was due in large part to removing a sub-plot from the series to publish later as a parallel series. This left a need for more words for An Arrow Against the Wind. I’ve already made decisions about what needs to be added where.

My approach at this point, was to handle all the big structural issues of content. This meant writing more in a number of places while I handled style inconsistencies after the additions were completed. So at that point, I made a collection that included all the planned additions and kept something of a schedule at the same time – the latter so that I stayed on-time for the first hand-over of the manuscript to the editor a few months later.

For this Collection, all I needed to do was choose all the empty documents that need ed content added and included them. So I highlighted the first chapter that needs more content and created the Collection using these instructions . I named it “Structural Edit – Additional Content”. From there I began to add all the empty documents that need work by clicking on the Binder tab in the Collection and right clicking on each targeted document and adding it from the context menu as pictured.

Adding to the collection

Adding to the collection

When finished, my collection looked like this:

Scriv Collection Added Folders

So now I had what I needed to begin to set a schedule to complete each necessary document. I can assigned a label and a status to each of these from the context menu – which is adding Scrivener meta-data. I chose to edit the standard status and label meta-data to fit my work. To make this change, go to either Label or Status to get a fly-out menu of available choices after right-clicking on a document. Choose edit and make your changes.

Scriv Collection Edit MD

First I edited the Labels to add deadline dates for each of the documents and assigned them successively to each one. Then I created a custom status for each category I needed: “In Process”, “Overdue”, “Completed” and “Not Started”. I then set all the documents to the last one. Now I had my deadlines and assigned a status to each document as I progressed, finally removing them from the collection once completed.

Scriv Collection Labels

Adding Labels

Scriv Collection Status Sched

Adding Status Schedule

So now my Collection was complete. I chose to view only the Binder by toggling off the Collection (Ctrl+Shift+9) or clicking View, slide to Collections for the menu and click Collection. To toggle the Binder on go to the same menu and click Binder. To go back into my collection, I can use the same menu and click on the named Collection where it appears in the list below Binder – in this case I only had one Collection (though I’ll added more over the next several weeks).

Collection View

And that’s how I’m used Collections in Scrivener to begin editing An Arrow Against the Wind. Here’s more about how I added more Collections if you are interested in the rest of the process.

How do you use Collections as part of you writing process? What tips do you have for using Collections? Thanks for reading today and have a Happy New Year! Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

P.H. Solomon

8 thoughts on “Scrivener Collections & Editing

  1. I don’t use collections in Scrivener. I can’t write out of sequence, so I follow my outline and don’t have holes to fill in later. I do, however, mark my cards (for scenes) using the status field (to-do, in progress, first draft, etc.) so that’s how I keep track of my revisions.

    Interesting overview of collections and your process.

    Liked by 2 people

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