My previous workflow was "write in LaTeX, using emacs", with research and character notes kept in plain-text files, using symlinks between multiple works set in the same fictional world.

This allowed me trivial flexibility in sharing character notes between multiple works, while only having a single, authoritative source of data.

What is the best way of accomplishing this in a Scrivener world? The only solution I've managed to discover of my own is to keep multiple "Story" objects, in a single project.

  • A .scriv-file is actually a folder. Right-click and open. Inside somewhere are .rtf-files. These are your chapters, character notes, etc. Ibread somewhere that you can have the outside your project file and include them somehow from inside Scriverner. Maybe this gets you on the right rack. – user5645 Aug 5 '15 at 15:54
  • Also this: writers.stackexchange.com/questions/10516/… – user5645 Aug 5 '15 at 16:47
  • +1 for emacs, I prefer to use vim. I dabbled a bit in scrivener and I think it is a great tool, but I never felt that I had the same flexibility and control as I got from raw text, notes management etc. So I went back to vim. Your experience may differ. Good luck- – siphr Dec 14 '16 at 14:25
  • @what direct editing .rtf files in Scrivener project file is discouraged by the developer (I asked) because it interferes with an internal indexing system and may lead to a corrupted project. – Lew Jan 31 '17 at 14:04

Scrivener has a feature, called Scratch Pad:

Mac version: Window > Show Scratch Pad. Windows version: Tools > Scratch Pad

It is a stand-alone repository of text notes, shared between the projects, which you can send to any of them: import as a subdocument or attach to any existing document of the selected project.


The Mac version of Scrivener (dunno about the Windows or Linux versions) has a feature that may help: Synchronised Folders. Strictly speaking, this feature does not share documents between multiple projects—in fact, the manual specifically warns against attempting this—but it does make selected files available for viewing and simple text editing outside of your Scrivener project.

So Synchronised Folders will not do exactly what you are asking, but it may help.


External links may solve your problem. Here is a step-by-step that may get you started:

  1. Create a new document in the References folder of the Binder. enter image description here
  2. Now choose the "Document References" button from the bottom of the right hand column. enter image description here
  3. Click the + button at top right of this pane. From the drop-down list, choose "Look up and Add External Reference" enter image description here
  4. Use the dialogue box to find your character source documents and choose Okay.

The external document is now in your project as a link and can be referenced at any time. On a Mac, you can get a quick view of this document by choosing it and hitting your spacebar for a quick view. You'll want to edit this document using whatever word processor you were using before.

To get this information quickly into a different project, you can drag and drop the "Character docs" document from the binder of one project into the binder of another. This will allow you to update your original character documents whenever you like and they will always be up-to-date no matter which Scrivener project you open.

  • What I specifically want to do in Scrivener is to have the "characters" resource(s) shared between multiple projects. What I used to do really has no bearing on what I want to do going forward (on the basis that shoe-horning one process into another seldom ends well). – Vatine Sep 8 '15 at 10:37
  • Sure, this might be shoehorning your old process into a new tool, but it could be a decent workaround until Scrivener implements the feature you're talking about (which would be great). Let us know if you come up with another solution. – Fell Sep 8 '15 at 17:04

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