Using some sophisticated tools

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Hemlock
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Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:15 pm Post

OK, I have been using the old Scrivener, with moderate success, for a couple of years, but only used the bare bones features. Never used, er, the Inspector, or the index cards, and so forth. (I have just downloaded the Beta version 2.9.0.25, and I guess I have to download a new Beta pretty soon, or buy the latest version.)

I want to solve a very specific problem in the easiest possible way, but I'm not opposed to approaching it in the most appropriate way, if there is one. (From my semesters of learning computer science, I know that the most appropriate way might be difficult, but it is ultimately easier to understand.)

One of my stories is about a character who is a professor at a small college. But the story, which was written about 20 years ago, would, if examined closely, actually take around 20 weeks to take place, whereas it is supposed to happen over a single Fall semester.

I'm obviously going to have to take stuff out. But many of the events have a bearing on subsequent events. I need to force a calendar on the story. If I only wanted to write the story from scratch, I could probably title each chapter according to which week of the semester it was, and proceed.

But here, the whole story is written, and a lot of it is stuff I want to keep, because, in fact, this is only one book among eleven volumes!

I have accomplished a few projects that are more complicated (I feel) than this one. I am resigned to the possibility that the end result might not be very good; but I would like it to be as good as it can be.

Is there some way in which I can muster the tools of Scrivener, to
(1) keep the date/week of each piece of text constantly visible,
(2) keep the events that have taken place, and which influence subsequent events, clearly visible,
(3) keep characters who have been introduced clearly visible (this is merely a special case of the previous requirement)?

Kay Hemlock Brown

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Tribalrose
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Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:13 pm Post

Since no one else has answered so far, I'll tell you what I do with much smaller, single book projects. My methods don't qualify as very sophisticated, though, and I'm not clear on whether you want to have the date, events, and characters visible for the project overall at a glance or for each chapter/scene as you access it. I'll tell you what I do anyway.

I have one book where I've had trouble with the timeline, and in the end what I did was made the date part of the title of the chapters, so it shows in the Binder. For example, "8-Morning after - June" is the Binder title of one chapter. In my case, scenes in a chapter are all in the same timeframe, so I didn't need to repeat for each scene. I don't worry about doing this because when I compile I can set it up not to use that wording for the chapters, but to say just, "Chapter 8."

I don't need to see info like that at a glance as to characters and events, but I do want to see POV character for each scene at a glance in the Binder. So I color code my scenes using the Label feature. If you right-click on a given scene you will see Label among the choices. If you choose Label, you get into an area where you can edit and add, use default colors or customize your own. After you do that, you have to go into the View menu at the top of your Scriv screen, choose Use Label Color In and enable the Label color pretty much everywhere.

Since it sounds like you want more than just POV character, but all characters, I think you could use keywords and color coding there, but it's not something I've done. I experimented with it a little, but those colors don't show up in views I use, so I never really used them.

What I would do with your desire to see characters and events of a given scene wouldn't show them in an overall glance, but would show them when you switched to a particular scene. If you keep the Inspector visible, and if you fill in that info for a scene on its Corkboard card or entry in the Outliner, the Inspector's Synopsis view will show what you filled in.

Here's what I end up with:

Scriv screen.png
Scriv screen.png (750.99 KiB) Viewed 385 times


If you're looking for a way to automatically pull this info from scenes already written, I think you're out of luck, but these are a couple of ways to make it visible if you enter the data in the right place.

P.S. My screenshot is from the Mac version, but I've used a couple of the earlier Windows betas, and you'd can do this in the Windows version and end up with the same info visible.

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lunk
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Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:07 am Post

I think you should take a look at Aeon Timeline. It is meant to be used for exactly what you are describing and it can work together with Scrivener.

https://www.aeontimeline.com/users/creative-writers/
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, all running the latest MacOS
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 8, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

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Hemlock
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:34 pm Post

Thanks! I think I can make a combination of this "Synopsis" feature, and maybe the labels, work for me!

I jumped into the project right after I posted my question / request, and discovered that I could push through the first few chapters with a certain amount of labor, but the synopsis will really help, esp. if I write fast!!

Kay

Tribalrose wrote:Since it sounds like you want more than just POV character, but all characters, I think you could use keywords and color coding there, but it's not something I've done. I experimented with it a little, but those colors don't show up in views I use, so I never really used them.

What I would do with your desire to see characters and events of a given scene wouldn't show them in an overall glance, but would show them when you switched to a particular scene. If you keep the Inspector visible, and if you fill in that info for a scene on its Corkboard card or entry in the Outliner, the Inspector's Synopsis view will show what you filled in.

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Hemlock
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:36 pm Post

lunk wrote:I think you should take a look at Aeon Timeline. It is meant to be used for exactly what you are describing and it can work together with Scrivener.

https://www.aeontimeline.com/users/creative-writers/


I'm going to try simpler tools to begin with, before I invest in a new commercial product! Another writer gave me some suggestions which I'm following up.

Thanks for the ideas!

Kay

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rdale
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:15 pm Post

Hemlock wrote:OK, I have been using the old Scrivener, with moderate success, for a couple of years, but only used the bare bones features. Never used, er, the Inspector, or the index cards, and so forth. (I have just downloaded the Beta version 2.9.0.25, and I guess I have to download a new Beta pretty soon, or buy the latest version.)


FYI, there is no newer Windows version of Scrivener to buy. The beta is not like a trial version, so you just have to keep updating to the latest beta as they're released.

If you go with the beta version (consider carefully if keeping up with and dealing with bugs is what you are willing to do while you work on your writing projects), then the following is possible...

I would suggest using the outline view + synopses (the index card text) + custom metadata field + keywords for the following:

Synopsis = keep the events that have taken place clearly visible

Custom metadata fields: Make one for the "draft 1 date" and another for the "revised date". Put the date that you originally designated for each part of your piece into "draft 1 date", and the date you plan to revise it to in the "revised date" field. That way, you can adjust your plan as you go through every part, without losing track of the original timeframe / order.

Keywords = List of characters in each part (presumably, you want to keep up with who is there at that point in the story, not just who was present in a previous chapter).

In the beta version, you have to create your custom metadata fields using the Project->Project Settings->Custom Metadata section. Then you can go to the editor, select your draft folder, and enter outline view (maybe split the editor first, so you can have a place to do your writing too). You then modify the outline view to only show title + synopsis, "draft 1 date", "revised date", and Keywords (un-check the "as color chips").

You would then create a keyword for every character, and add them to each binder entry as needed.

Example.png
Example.png (122 KiB) Viewed 152 times
FKA: robertdguthrie
AKA: R Dale Guthrie, Robert, Mr. Obscure, and "Oh, it's you again".