Feedback Wanted: How do you structure your Scriv projects?

Which of the following structures do you use in your Scrivener projects?

Book with Parts and Chapters: Parts folders containing Chapter folders containing text documents acting as scenes/sub-sections
93
25%
Book with Parts and Chapters: Parts folders containing text documents that each serve as a whole chapter
30
8%
Book with Chapters: Chapter folders containing text documents acting as scenes/sub-sections
103
28%
Book with Chapters: A bunch of text documents that each serve as a whole chapter
48
13%
Screenplays/scripts - a bunch of text documents each serving as one or more scenes
24
7%
Screenplays/scripts - other structure
17
5%
Essay or document using one of Scrivener's template formats
24
7%
Other (please describe in a reply)
28
8%
 
Total votes: 367
js
jsharbour
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:40 pm
Platform: Windows

Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:45 pm Post

I'm a new Scrivener user coming over from Word 2013 after 15 years of use. I found it an extremely steep learning curve even after going through the full tutorial.

I started off importing my current manuscript in as separate scenes since that seemed like a cool feature. But after working with it for a while, I realized I do not ever want to work on just one scene, since the others must be referenced frequently to ensure I haven't missed a detail when adding the next scene. I need to see a lot of text while writing, not just small pieces.

The text formatting is quite frustrating. I feel like I'm just constantly fighting with it to format text the way I want, and may have to leave it alone until it's done because I'm wasting too much time trying to get it to work right. One of the biggest difficulties is, Scrivener does not apply formatting to a blank line, only if there's a character present. For instance, several bullets of text, highlight them all to change the font size, it doesn't stick unless you add a space to each bullet. The formatting should be independent of text as part of the paragraph so it sticks when you make a change.

I wish there was a way to automatically link to character/location files when they come up in the text. I assumed this was the case from perusing the web site before bying. I didn't suspect when I bought the software that I would have to manually edit every reference of a character or location to hyperlink to it. So, I've added a chapter header document (excluded from compile) that includes a list of all characters/locations in the chapter with links from there. It's manual, and thus time consuming.

A lot of the "stuff" Scrivener does wastes my time when I would rather be writing. A couple times I have nearly quit and switched back to Word.

Fyi, I'm working on a 135k novel and a 2nd one currently at 60k.

re
reepicheep
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:11 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS

Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:21 pm Post

jsharbour wrote:I started off importing my current manuscript in as separate scenes since that seemed like a cool feature. But after working with it for a while, I realized I do not ever want to work on just one scene, since the others must be referenced frequently to ensure I haven't missed a detail when adding the next scene. I need to see a lot of text while writing, not just small pieces.
How do you see "a lot of text" using Word?

In Scrivener you can use the split screen view to open up a different scene or to look at two sections of the same screen simultaneously.

jsharbour wrote:The text formatting is quite frustrating. I feel like I'm just constantly fighting with it to format text the way I want, and may have to leave it alone until it's done…
Leaving it alone sounds like the best option to me. What on earth are you doing that means you have to fiddle with the formatting constantly?

jsharbour wrote:Fyi, I'm working on a 135k novel and a 2nd one currently at 60k.
Working on a bunch of novels none of which are below 60K. I could not have got beyond 6K without Scrivener and all its features.
Techie details in case I forget

Scrivener 2.8.1.2 (26324)
Mac OS X 10.8.5 (mostly)
Scrivener 1.1.1 (20170800)
iOS 9.3.5/11

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kewms
Posts: 3245
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:22 pm
Platform: Mac

Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:13 pm Post

jsharbour wrote:I wish there was a way to automatically link to character/location files when they come up in the text. I assumed this was the case from perusing the web site before bying. I didn't suspect when I bought the software that I would have to manually edit every reference of a character or location to hyperlink to it. So, I've added a chapter header document (excluded from compile) that includes a list of all characters/locations in the chapter with links from there. It's manual, and thus time consuming.


Have you considered using the Search function for this?

You can also use keywords to tag documents with characters, locations, and so on, and then search on the keyword.

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team

Ch
ChiaLynn
Posts: 38
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Platform: Mac
Contact:

Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:54 am Post

jsharbour wrote:I started off importing my current manuscript in as separate scenes since that seemed like a cool feature. But after working with it for a while, I realized I do not ever want to work on just one scene, since the others must be referenced frequently to ensure I haven't missed a detail when adding the next scene. I need to see a lot of text while writing, not just small pieces.


Scrivenings mode may help. If you choose the scenes you want to see right now and select Scrivenings mode (Command-1 from the binder, or look for it in the toolbar or the View menu), you can edit the selected scenes as though they're a single document.

I wish there was a way to automatically link to character/location files when they come up in the text. I assumed this was the case from perusing the web site before bying. I didn't suspect when I bought the software that I would have to manually edit every reference of a character or location to hyperlink to it.


If you type two square brackets ([[), then type your character or location name and close the brackets (]]), Scriv will give you a link to an internal document with that word as a title. For example, [[London]] would appear as a link to a location document titled London.

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AmberV
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Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:51 pm Post

Agreed, the Scrivenings view mode is really integral to the concept of working in smaller pieces. It doesn’t really matter one bit if your chapter is comprised of several hundred fragments of text, if you can work on them together in a text editor as though there were all one file. Of course the nice thing about Scrivener is that these pieces being components of a chapter is only one way to look at them. You can search for scenes that contain the word “London” and then edit the search results as a singular text file, or pull out all scenes from one PoV to check for continuity regardless of how much actual book content is in between these scenes. You’re really working with variable segments of text that can be fit together into a longer document—either while you work or when you compile.

The point being, the software is designed to work around the concept that text has an internal thematic, narrative or topical structure, and that this structure may not resemeble the sort of structure a reader sees (a chapter break, a scene divider, etc.), so the tools are designed to give you that personal outline that goes as detailed as you need it to be and no more. If the smallest useful chunk of text to you is a chapter that is fine, that is even represented in the options of this poll—just know the program is designed from the ground up to not be limited by constructs such as these. If you need to go deeper, you can.

jsharbour wrote:__________________________________________________________________________________________
For instance, several bullets of text, highlight them all to change the font size, it doesn’t stick unless you add a space to each bullet. The formatting should be independent of text as part of the paragraph so it sticks when you make a change.


It just means learning some new habits. Scrivener works like most Mac software does, seeing as how it uses the basic Mac text engine. If you are used to something like Word or LibreOffice, which are ported programs that do their own thing entirely, some habits will need to change. Formatting paragraphs after you type is one thing I’ve learned to do over the years, and in my experience it involves no more effort to do that.

As said above, another thing to consider is that Scrivener isn’t the kind of program where you always have to worry about formatting to perfection while you write, in fact one of its goals is to make that concept as irrelevant as possible. There are exceptions of course, but for a typical novel you can probably have the compiler clean up every single paragraph for you, even if you wrote the book in fifteen different fonts and a mishmash of paragraphs styles. The idea here is that you can write comfortably, rather than to spec. Let machines handle the busywork, that is what they are really good at.

ChiaLynn wrote:__________________________________________________________________________________________
If you type two square brackets ([[), then type your character or location name and close the brackets (]])…


That is one of my favourite features, but you do need to ask for it as it is off by default. The setting is in the Corrections preference pane, lower half. This feature also lets you create new items, by typing in a phrase that isn’t an item title yet. One last tip, since we are working with Binder item titles with this feature, the Edit/Complete Document Title command (Ctrl-Esc) can come in really handy.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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Stroppy
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:31 am
Platform: Windows
Location: Boston

Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:50 pm Post

Is this ([[) (]]) feature available in the windows version? I don't really see it anywhere, but am already a little obsessed with its potential.

Thanks.

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AmberV
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Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:06 pm Post

Alas, not yet. It really is a nice feature if the way you take notes and develop text is more akin to a wiki, so we do intend to bring it to Windows. There is another tool that is not quite as seamless (it won’t automatically link up to the first document in the binder with a matching name), but there should be a keyboard shortcut on the Edit/Scrivener Link/New Links... menu command which basically does the same thing. If you used the brackets on the Mac to make a new document, that’s the dialogue box you’d get after using it. So for hot-linking to new blank pages that should help fill the gap until we can get the brackets in.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

ka
katy12250
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:59 pm
Platform: Windows

Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:08 am Post

I'm putting together a collection of short stories and I'm not sure Scrivener is made for that. Still working on all the details, but it would be good to remember that no everyone is using Scrivener to just write novels (or papers or whatever.) BTW, I have the Windows version and am SOOOO looking forward to an update!

re
reepicheep
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:11 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS

Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:33 am Post

katy12250 wrote:I'm putting together a collection of short stories and I'm not sure Scrivener is made for that. …
I disagree any and every writing activity beyond a single sentence is amenable to use of Scrivener. And even that sentence, if more than "Hello world!", may require the use of Split/Merge document, Move to ensure that its phrases and phrasing is optimal. Anything more that typo correction is a Scrivenerable task; and if there are structural alterations (moving paragraphs/documents around within the manscript) then Scrivener is an absolute must!

Perhaps the only writing that Scrivener would be wasted on is collating a grocery shopping list — and even that might require Sort paragraph, Move etc to put the items into the appropriate order.

As to short story collections the novel templates (with and without parts) would work. Treat the stories as "chapters" and then mess with the Compile settings to tweak the output.
Techie details in case I forget

Scrivener 2.8.1.2 (26324)
Mac OS X 10.8.5 (mostly)
Scrivener 1.1.1 (20170800)
iOS 9.3.5/11

Ah
Ahab
Posts: 619
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Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:25 am Post

katy12250 wrote:I'm putting together a collection of short stories and I'm not sure Scrivener is made for that. Still working on all the details, but it would be good to remember that no everyone is using Scrivener to just write novels (or papers or whatever.) BTW, I have the Windows version and am SOOOO looking forward to an update!


I replaced MS Word with Scrivener during its first Beta in 2006, and since have used it exclusively for everything, from dust-jacket blurbs to magazine columns and travel pieces to a 340-page collection of essays due out in October. During that time-frame I also edited seven issues a year of a 160-page magazine, managing every aspect from reading, rejecting, accepting, filing, managing, and editing submissions to back-and-forthing with authors to outputting the final files to the InDesign operatives in Production.

The only limitations to Scrivener in my experience are self-imposed.

re
reepicheep
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Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:56 pm Post

Ahab wrote:The only limitations to Scrivener in my experience are self-imposed.
If this were Facebook I'd Like your post. I too have replaced other writing tools (LibreOffice, Apple Pages) with Scrivener for my writing. There are occasions when I do still use toilet-paper paradigmed word processors but only when other people send me documents for a quick review.
Techie details in case I forget

Scrivener 2.8.1.2 (26324)
Mac OS X 10.8.5 (mostly)
Scrivener 1.1.1 (20170800)
iOS 9.3.5/11

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rdale
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Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:25 pm Post

reepicheep wrote:As to short story collections the novel templates (with and without parts) would work. Treat the stories as "chapters" and then mess with the Compile settings to tweak the output.

I just wanted to note, for anyone struggling with a short story collection, that you don't have to start over with a new project template. When you go to compile your collection, use the "novel" compile presets as a starting point, no matter what project template you started with. Then tweak the settings from there until you're happy with the results, or reach the true limits of Scrivener's compile feature. :wink:
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Xade
Posts: 56
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:03 pm
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:40 pm Post

Id have to say basically chapter folders with major scenes. I used to have each note as one scene but I very quickly scrapped that idea.
mine is like this
howminelooks.png
howminelooks.png (6.65 KiB) Viewed 522 times

The Chapter One folder is mainly for my refernce, as that is the image placeholder folder (what a mouthfull) the actual Chapter number will be above "The Winter Fig" which is the name of the chapter. When I compiled to highlight often used words for revision I kept the names after the import and split, where I found something else that could use some improvement. I tend to include the short hand CH01 01 name just in case something somehw decides to move to a new folder. Since I often use a windows tablet, this has happened many times. Now if I see it out of place I can just drop it back into place without any issues.

Anyhow, yeah it would be really cool to have this streamlined. :)

Sc
ScriverTid
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue May 06, 2014 9:38 am
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Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:09 am Post

My approach is probably unique, but nevertheless Scrivener has helped me enormously in achieving this particular thing. I started a novel many years ago, and though I "finished" it within the year, it was my first and therefore needed a lot of revisiting, revision and some restructuring.

The novel exists in several forms:
1. The original "finished" version was in FileMaker Pro, with one record per chapter.
2. A subsequent early revision was sent to an agent as a single Word document.
3. Further revisions were done in AppleWorks, one file per chapter.
4. Finally, a serious attempt to get a final draft was done in another FileMaker database, one record per chapter.

A complicated history and timeline of revisions!

So what I did first was to import each chapter from 1. into Scrivener and snapshot them. Then I broke 2. down into chapters, copied/pasted/overwrote what was already in Scrivener, and did another set of snapshots. Ditto for the AppleWorks files, and then the other FileMaker database.

What I am left with in Scrivener is the latest version of my novel, with snapshots of all previous versions that I can either look at in isolation, or use the Compare tool on.
I am continuing to make revisions, but using a different colour text for all changes, so I can immediately see them, but also I can use Scrivener's awesome "Find by Formatting..." tool so I can find all text that is the colour I'm using for current changes.

Had I started this venture in Scrivener, my approach would be rather different, but if anyone else has a writing project that exists in various media sscattered in different places, maybe my experience could help them?

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DavidWSnow
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Location: Outside Seattle Washington

Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:58 pm Post

Since I write light technical material, I use a template that supports:
1. Level-1 Folders as Chapters. Text can be located in the folder. A good place for an introduction to the Chapters. Binder titles = Chapter title. Numbering is hierarchal $<hn>
2. Level-1 Text documents for Front Matter. Binder titles do not pass thru. Each is on a Recto page. Title page & Copyright share a document so that the copyright is on a verso page.
3. Level-1 Containers look like chapters, but I don't use them.
4. Level-2+ Containers and Level-2+ text documents are for Sections, Subsections, and Subsubsections etc.

Like most of us, I have extra folders outside of Manuscript, for special purposes.
I think Scrivener could use a "Back Matter" folder, that acted like Front Matter does today. Many of us are moving more-and-more stuff to the back of the book.
Another one is "Marketing Templates", for Book Description, About the Author, Submission Data (categories, keywords, etc)

Attached is an image from my template that shows my default binder layout.
DWS-Tech_BinderLayout.png
DWS-Tech_BinderLayout.png (314.3 KiB) Viewed 360 times