How to set up Scrivener for a series rather than one novel
In part 1 of this short series, I talked about putting all your series’ novels and your series bible into one scrivener project. In part 2, I talked about the basics of setting up Acts, Chapters, and Scenes within a new top-level folder for one novel, and then setting that up as a template for future novels in the series.
Today, we’ll be discussing an efficient and effective way to establish all the metadata you’ll need to craft your outline and content, by setting up Labels, Status, and Keywords to assist in both outlining and writing.
By having these established beforehand, you can quickly and easily find what you need, or reference scene data “on the fly” in Corkboard or Outline views. Note that this how-to series assumes you have a basic knowledge of how Scrivener works or know where to look to find out what you don’t know.
Project > Project Keywords. Keywords can be used for many things, but the important things to remember are that you can:
- Have multiple keywords per scene
- Set it up so keywords show up in your binder, corkboard cards, and outline view
- Nestle sub-keywords into top-level keywords (just like scenes are nestled under chapter folders)
I set up two top keywords – POV and Mood. Under each of these, I set up sub-keywords by highlighting the main one (such as POV) and then clicking the double-plus icon at the bottom-left.
- POV – One keyword for each character who will have scene POV in your novels. You can add more later, so just worry about adding them for one novel at a time.
- Mood – I have sub-keywords for anger, romance, despair, and so on. If you own the excellent Emotions Thesaurus or Emotional Wound Thesaurus, this is a good place to nest the emotions all your characters will have, related to those books’ suggestions. Alternatively, you could use this for Theme instead of Mood. (Or in addition, via a third top-level keyword.)
By assigning relevant keywords to your scenes, you can see at a glance in your outline how your POV scenes are spaced out, or whether you have too much of one emotion without a break. This is ideal for use during outlining, and while you are writing, it gives you at-a-glace reminder of those important details.
I create one label for Plotline A, the main plotline, and additional keywords for subplots. (Alternatively, if you use The Story Grid method, you can use these to indicate Internal and External scene focus.)
This tells you at a glance whether you’re neglecting a particular plotline. By changing your Binder View to have labels or color for labels, you can see it while you’re writing in your scene, too.
These, I use to denote every step in my writing process. For example, To Do, Drafting, Revision 1, Editor, Revision 2, and Complete. (Your process will vary, but this keeps you organized.) Note that you could swap this use of status with the POV keyword, but that’s up to you.
By setting up your series project in this way, you’ll be very well prepared to tackle writing your series, and because you have every book in one project, you can track this metadata over time — or glance back at a prior novel to remind yourself what an MC’s mood was the last time they met Bounty Hunter X at some dive bar in a spaceport.
More to come in Part 4!