A very simple noob question of making a certain type of NOVEL TEMPLATE in Scrivener 3

I hve done the interactive tutorial, watched videos, but still can’t figure how to go about this:

I want to write a novel that consists of chapters and ech chapter has many many scenes or what do you call them. I want to be able to use the corkboard to plot the scenes (and the plottinng text should not show in the final printout. I also want to use the corkboard to jot down ideas, stuff about characters, places, research facts.

And when I examine the novel under progress, I’ll need to be able to do a) without seeing the chapter or scene comments only meant for me and also b) seeing the whole text including those comments.

What kind of template or file structure should I use? Should I include text in a folder itself, or should folder just have a name and then just a bunch of texts in that folder,including notes about craracters, plot points, places etc?

I’m sorry being such a dnse case with Scrivener, but somehow getting started appears to be very very difficult for me. I tried it ears ago with an older version and eventualy gave up. Now I want to learn to do this and get to work with Scriv 3.

Later on I will try and find how Scapple could help me with Scrivener and getting fleeting images written down.

Thank you a lot for all attempts at helping out of my vacuumy predicament.


Start writing, instead og spending time on how you should do this or that. You can change the structure later, change documents into folders (it’s only the icon that differ), etc.
The text you see on the cards in corkboard view is the Synopsis, which you either write on the cards on the corkboard, or in the Inspector when in Editor mode.

But start writing, instead of planning.

Use any template you like. You’re describing basic Scrivener operations, not anything advanced or mysterious.

You can either plot this from the top down – Chapters first – or from the bottom up, scenes first. Or not at all, just create a document and start writing.

Many of the supplied Compile Formats assume that you create a folder for each Chapter and then nest scenes inside it. If you don’t have a strong preference otherwise, that’s as good an approach as any. So, if you want to create Chapters first, create as many folders as you need in the Binder, then open each folder in the Corkboard to start creating scenes.

If you’d rather create scenes first, open up the Corkboard and do so. Add whatever synopsis text you like. Shuffle around as needed.

You can use the Document Notes for each scene for plot points and character notes, or you can create separate character sheets. Scrivener doesn’t care.

When you’re ready to start writing, just open up the scene you want to start with in the main Editor and go. The Synopsis and Document Notes can be in the Inspector off to the right. If you want, you can show the full Corkboard for the whole chapter – or the whole manuscript – in a second Editor pane.


Hi lunk and Katherine,

Thank you both for your sound advise.

All my life my writing has been non-preplanned, and I’ve enjoyed that. It has worked for me vey well, as my books consist of very short stories, causeris, whatever, and the epitome and apex of organizing my writing has been a cardboard shoebox filled with post-it notes, receipts, and other pieces of paper where I’ve jotted a word, an idea, a line some character might use.

But since I now strive for a much longer work and one of a different genre, I feel (I fear) I need to be more “goal-oriented” from the beginning. However, there seems to be some middle ground of organizing my writing available for me, something between a shoebox of thoughts and a Prussian army field manual.

Your answers give me the feeling I should perhaps begin with scenes (with a short summary and other relevant information (like a word or two about the characters) eventually added to a corkboard. Then, after having gathered “enough” scenes I can begin to put together some chapters (=folders named 1,2,3… plus a short descriptive text) and throw relevant scenes into those chapter folders.

At first I felt I need to create a mock manuscript and try to learn the ropes of Scrivener playing around with that. But now I feel I’ll begin with “pay dirt”, begin writing the actual manuscript, trusting I’ll learn more about Scrivener as I get further in my writing.

Thank you both, and enjoyable writing sessions to you!


Once you’ve gone through the Interactive Tutorial, I don’t think there’s really much to be gained by using “fake” text. You won’t know how your preferred approach meshes with Scrivener until you try to actually write something. Provided you have good backups, it’s pretty hard to create an unfixable mess.