Applying a "paradigm"

Hi, folks,

I’ve grown quite fond of the structure questions asked by Contour, but HATE the program’s interface, and I’d like to incorporate those questions into Scrivener.

Obviously, I can set up a complete set of questions, properly outlined by Act. But–then what?

I’m trying to figure out how to keep my structure questions visible while working on my answers. What I’d love is to be able to take any chunk of my own text and know through some visible link that it corresponds to a particular Contour element.

Any method would obviously work with other structure paradigms, too.

Any advice? Thanks!

Really? Nothing for this?


Off the top of my head, you could have each question be a Scrivener Link to the document in which it is supposed to be answered.

I’ve been toying with something like that.

I guess what I’m trying to accomplish is a way to see my structure template while at the same time working on my new document based on the template–while keeping the new document file “attached” the the template question…

I have been pondering on a way of linking documents together for exactly this sort of thing for 2.0, but have nothing set in stone as yet.
All the best,

Wow, that sounds great.

From all the talk about structure and templates here on the boards, I think a lot of people who find that extremely helpful. I hope you’ll open it up for brainstorming at some point.

Feel free to brainstorm it here. At the moment all I’m thinking is this:

Allow the user to set a “linked document” to another document or suchlike. Possibly even via the references panel. So that when the user opens a document, the linked document is automatically opened in the split pane at the same time.

All the best,


I like the idea of handling this in the references panel. Perhaps a button to toggle an item as “linked” which would embolden it. This could even conceivably be done with external links, though that might be too aggressive an approach.

What if duplication automatically stashed the originator in references and set it as linked? While this would certainly help with templates, it might be too broad a stroke otherwise. Perhaps if things are specifically generated from document templates in 2.0 terminology, rather than duplication (1.0 method), automatic linking could be established if preferred (something like that might best be a per project setting so that some project templates are set up this way and others are not—or maybe it would even be better set at the document level. Some template items do, some do not?). The user can still set up associations manually via the references panel.

Perhaps an icon change should be initiated for documents that have an associated linked document. A page with an arrow pointing outward, so that from the Binder the user will know that clicking on that item will load two documents, not one.

[size=120]Problems / Questions[/size]

With the proposed automatic “workspace regeneration” as described, what happens if the user has the second split already open and locked? What if the locked split is where the primary document would ordinarily appear?

What happens in full screen, nothing I presume?

What happens with history keys. Would this just happen on Binder click, or would history, Go To functions, and link follows also initiate this behaviour?

Will the secondary split automatically close when the user clicks off of a linked document (and only if that split was opened for that document)?

Taking this in another direction: What if splits were not employed at all? What if having an associated reference document automatically created a two-selection ad hoc E.S.? This way the interface is not making workspace decisions for the user.

This behaviour would be ignored if the originator document were included in another selection, naturally. That might be too confusing otherwise.

The Edit Scrivenings idea is a pretty cool one, as is the icon idea.

Another idea, of course, is to put these questions in the notes area of the inspector…

For this particular scenario, notes is a good place to put that kind of stuff. That is precisely the type of information it is for.

This is what I’ve been doing for now.

What that lacks is an overall view of the structure, since the structure is pushed aside into the notes. I don’t like to be robotic about the structure thing, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to see “Chapter 6” and know that it contains “Inciting Incident” (for example).

The idea of kind of parallel documents would be great. Doc A (structure) matched Doc B (content). I sometimes have done this in a word processor just by using a two column table. The problem there is no finesse–no outlining, and no focus on the bit you’re on now. Which, of course, is where Scrivener excels.

Okay, here’s my new idea (for 2.0):

A HUD window (heads-up display - those semi-translucent black windows), one for the whole application, that, when open, automatically updates with text that applies to the currently focussed document. You could pop some instructions in this window so that, as the user clicks on a document in the binder, this window shows text explaining what the user is supposed to do in that document, how to use it etc.

This seems to me a good solution as it doesn’t take up any of the existing interface and the user can hide it after reading it and call it back up again, or move it to a part of the screen (or another screen) where it doesn’t get in the way.


All the best,

I think this just means that you have not pieced things out enough into separate documents. There is no reason you can’t have the questions you want in document notes and also have your template “shape” show in the binder.

Below is an example showing such a “story development template” binder structure. The example shows a Schechter-style development structure, but the strategy is perfectly general, of course.

You have two basic choices for working with such a template (in Scriv 1.5): 1) Put the questions/notes you want in the notes area of the documents and work with the inspector open. 2) Put the questions/notes you want in the content area of the documents, and put your writing in subdocuments, using split screen to keep a view on both areas. Both techniques have their plusses/minusses.


I had to read this a few time to understand, but I think that this is close to what I’ve imagined, more so than the HUD idea.

What I’ve tried to create on my own is basically parallel outlines. Outline One represents the “ideal” structure; Outline Two is your new, creative writing outline, based on One, and trying to match it step by step.

Imagine a split-screen, the way Scrivener currently does it. You’ve got your structure doc in the left pane–and somehow, the right pane is like a second column (like in a spreadsheet), rather than a whole, new, unrelated document. These two panes know about each other, and about their relationship, so when you open one, you also get the other.

BTW, some form of this feature would be useful not just for working from a structure paradigm. I could see it simplifying working on a second draft, based on a linked first draft.

Jumping in months late here, but a few thoughts/questions:

I agree that this could be used for a lot more than just the model structure idea, though I’ll stick with that in discussion. But definitely another one of those great “not imposing a method on you” Scrivener tools.

I like the idea of the split pane/Edit Scrivenings combo or the HUD (resized as big as I need it) as a more robust way of working with the linked documents, opposed to notes. In either case, would the “documents” that make up the paradigm outline be visible as their own units in the Binder? Or would they only be accessible via (and always paired with) the linked “main” document?

On the one hand, the simplicity and clean interface of not having all that extra stuff show up in the Binder is appealing, but I think to really be as workable as possible the documents should be visible somewhere as a list of files, thus giving the overarching outline view. I think this is what InAccuFacts was getting at with the dislike of notes? It’d be nice to see the structure outline as its own thing, separate from the novel draft. So this is essentially the same as Greg’s second method, but more automated by the program–ie, with the whole linking/emboldening file names/automatically opening both when clicking one, etc.

Going back to the HUD, since that was Keith’s input and he’s the one doing all the work :wink:, I do like that it doesn’t take over the two editors I’m probably already using, so that’s a huge bonus. Could it do not just an update per document but also have a toggle to view the entire outline? Ultimately I’d want to see:

  1. The model outline I’m shooting for (e.g. I’ve entered the whole ideal structure of the novel, questions for each section, etc. etc. and I want the overview of the whole thing–so there also should be a way to do this, enter my model structure before creating the documents I’ll link to it)
  2. The actual outline as it exists now based on the documents I’ve linked (so it shows me only the parts of the ideal outline which I’ve got linked documents for, ie the parts of the novel I’ve written and linked to the model)
  3. The instructions/questions/whatever for the particular document I have open

The first two could probably best be combined into one, with the linked sections in bold or another color, so I can see at a glance the entire outline and which sections I’ve done and what I have left to do. This would be essentially the reverse of seeing my draft documents in bold in the Binder.

Oh yeah, and just because that wasn’t enough to ask for, attaching keywords to the model structure (via the HUD, I guess?) would be great. And colors. Lots of user-controlled colors. :slight_smile:

Coming back to this after a long, long time.

Any suggestions in the new, improved Scrivener on achieving something like this? A kind of parallel structure–one to follow and one to be actively working on?

You might have a look at the new Collections feature in ScrivMac 2.0.


Thanks for the quick reply. I’m familiar with collections (actually, quite loving them for storylines and other things), but how would you use it in this context?

I have a collection each for Act/section: Act 1, Act 2-1, Act 2-2, Act 3 for example. I also have a folder containing documents that make up a beat sheet. One document = 1 plot point with a label denoting it’s sequence A, B, C, etc.