Write Simpler, Use Scrivener

How to Self-Edit your Novel using Scrivener and the Story Grid: Part 3

Part 3 of 3: Collections and Keywords

Randall Surles
The Story Ninja
Published in
6 min readAug 18, 2021
Photo by Tianyi Ma on Unsplash

This is part 3 of 3 articles that will show you how I set up Scrivener when I edit a client’s book for developmental editing using the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. This article will cover three things: using collections to track character arcs and common themes, using Keywords to track storylines, and using Synopsis to track your story beats.

Here is what the three articles contain:

Part 1 — The Set-Up

  • How I set up Scrivener to edit or write a new manuscript — My Way
  • How I incorporate the Story Grid guidance inside Scrivener
  • How I incorporate other writings methods
  • Using a Global Value Tracker

Part 2 — Using and setting up MetaData

  • A new way to use MetaData to track the Story Grid 5 Commandments for each scene
  • Using MetaData to Track the Literal and Essential Action as well as Value shifts
  • Review of tracking Story Grid Spreadsheet Data using Meta Data
  • And We’ll review the export feature that allows you to export all your metadata into an excel spreadsheet that resembles the Story Grid Spreadsheet Shawn Coyne uses

Part 3 — Collections and Keywords

  • Using Keywords to track Sub-Plots
  • Using Collections to Track Main Characters, Locations, and Unique Elements
  • Using synopsis to Track Beats

These topics have been the most frequently asked questions about my method.

What are collections?

In Scrivener, they appear just like search results, but they are much more than that. First things first, how do you make a collection?

Image provided by author’s screenshot inside Scrivener Platform



Randall Surles
The Story Ninja

Retired Army Ranger and Green Beret, Digital Nomad, Author, Developmental Editor. Find out more at www.randysurles.com.

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