Create your timeline within Scrivener
Scrivener 3’s custom metadata allows a date option. Perfect for keeping track of scenes on your timeline!
- Select a scene.
- Open the Inspector.
- Click on the icon for metadata (the middle of five icons).
- Click on the Set Up Metadata … button to open up the Custom Metadata pane.
- Click on the + sign to add a new metadata field.
For a timeline: a metadata field called DateTime
I’m calling my metadata field DateTime, and I select the Date type.
The DateTime format option
The lower half of that pane changes and the next choice is for the format of this metadata.
I’m opting for (Full + Time) because I think it will help me to know the day of the week as well as the date and time.
Setting the DateTime for a scene via the Inspector
In the Inspector, this new field is displayed with a calendar icon. Clicking on the calendar icon allows me to enter the DateTime for that scene.
- To enter the date, the calendar months can be controlled by the arrows keys (back for forth) and the day selected within the month OR the data can be entered as digits in the field below.
- For the time, the hands of the clock can be moved (dragged by the cursor), OR the data can be entered as digits in the field below.
Viewing timeline metadata in Outliner View
To view this metadata (apart from within the Inspector for individual scenes), I need Outliner view, and to include this new metadata as a column.
- Select Chapter in the Binder.
- Click on the Outliner View icon in Group mode.
- Right click within the header of the Outliner view to reveal the options. Notice that DataTime is an option.
Ticking (or unticking) options determines what columns appear.
- I’ve unticked Label and Status as I’ve not decided how I’ll use them yet.
- I’ve ticked Total Target (set for 500 for each scene) and Total Progress even though I’ve written no word and won’t need this information until I start in November.
It’s up to you what appears, and you might create lots more custom fields too.
Scrivener places each new column at the righthand end. You can then drag it to wherever you want it to appear.
I want mine on the far left!
Notice that, if a column is starved of space, Scrivener displays a shorter form of the metadata.
So, choosing the Full + Time leaves me the option to display as little or as much as I wish.
Entering DateTime custom metadata via Outliner view
I’ve then added lots more entries for this metadata field and it’s easier – and more efficient – to do this in Outliner view.
However, clicking on the calendar icon to enter such data via the Outliner view, there appears to be no calendar and no clock with movable hands; the data needs to be entered as digits.
Also, if you omit to enter a time, Scrivener assumes midday.
Scrivener converts whatever I enter into the format I selected: Full + Time. And works out what day of the week it is. Job done …
However, if you double click on the calendar icon … the calendar and clock appear.
Notice that the date and time offered represent now according to the clock on your computer. I grabbed that screen at 22.45 on 20 Sept … although I was in Canada at the time so it was only 5.46pm.
The order of scenes within the Outliner
Clicking on the heading DataTime affects the order of the scenes as they appear in the Outliner; it has no effect on the order within the Binder.
It toggles between three states:
- Date/time order ascending (no entry comes before any with an entry)
- Date/time order descending (no entry comes after any with an entry)
- The order the scenes appear in the Binder.
I will want the scenes in my Binder to be in chronological order so I stick to the third option and drag scenes up/down as necessary within the Outliner view.
When a scene is moved in this way in the Outliner view, it also moves within the Binder.
Starting your own novel? Need a helping hand?
To watch me go through the process of setting up a new novel or to ask any questions, book a place at the next Simply Scrivener Special. 60 minutes of Q&A on Scrivener with me, Anne Rainbow, ScrivenerVirgin!
To help me to prepare for the webinar, you could also complete this short questionnaire.
The ScrivenerVirgin blog is a journey of discovery:
a step-by-step exploration of how Scrivener can change how a writer writes.
To subscribe to this blog, click here.
You can also find links to blogs of specific topics in the Scrivener index.
Also … check out the Scrivener Tips
on my ScrivenerVirgin Facebook page.