Are Chapters Required?

I’m a newbie wanting to import my already-written novel into Scrivener so I can quickly compile it for print and ebook. Since “Import and Split” doesn’t work right in the Windows version, I imported my novel from Word as one long text. When I did that, Scrivener made it one scene in a chapter folder. I’m now using the manual split command to break it at each chapter as I understand a break is needed so it will format each chapter properly when compiled. However, when I did the splits, Scrivener made each chapter a scene within the single chapter folder.

My question is does each actual chapter need to be in its own chapter folder for my novel to compile properly? Or can I just do away with any chapter folders and just have the chapters defined as Scrivener “scenes” and still compile okay?

Assuming you started with a Novel template, or are using a novel compile preset, all you have to do is move the chapter files you’ve split into the main “Manuscript” folder, rather than having them be children of the “Chapter” folder. The basic setup for standard novel template is that you either have chapter folders and scene documents in those folders, or you have chapter files, and no folders.

You’re diving into the deep end here, so if you really want to continue, you’re going to have to learn a lot about Scrivener’s back end (compile) at the very beginning of your experience with it. The compile process has the steepest learning curve of all the rest of Scrivener’s features. For people new to Scrivener, I would suggest going at it the other way around: writing in Scrivener, and then compiling to a Word or RTF file so that you can do your final formatting/styling in a more familiar environment.

Anyway, good luck, and feel free to ask as many questions in these forums as you need to.

Thank you, Robert. I’ll try that. I’m a little concerned about how the Table of Contents, which I heard is required for ebooks, will be affected by that approach, but I guess I’ll find out. Also I’m a confused by your comment and others suggesting that manuscript editing be done in some other program besides Scrivener. It seems capable enough, though I haven’t done anything extensive with it yet. My novel is pretty straightforward. I’m not planning to use any fancy fonts. After importing from my word doc, I’m planning to do final edits right in Scrivener, but now I’m wondering if there’s some editing limitation in there that’s going to cause a problem . . .

Sorry, I’m not trying to scare you (I personally think Scrivener is a powerhouse from start to finish for 99% of most authors’ needs), but I do see some people get frustrated starting out as you are, being unfamiliar with Scrivener as a whole, but trying to use it as an easy way to produce multiple output formats. My advice: get your chapters all split up, get rid of the example chapter folder & scene document that came with the template, and then start playing with the compile settings while you have the time to learn that part of Scrivener.

On that note, it’s just a matter of letting Scrivener put page breaks between each chapter; during the compile process, that’s used to create separate HTML pages (ebooks are essentially web pages, internally) for each chapter. The ToC is just a list of links to each of those separate pages.

In short: As long as you have each chapter in its own document, and they’re all in the main Manuscript folder, you’ll get your e-book ToC generated automatically. But you should try it yourself; create an epub/kindle document and then load it up in the appropriate ebook viewer to see it in action.

I would strongly urge you to compile your work in Word even if going to ebook later.
Scrivener — as brilliant and essential of a program as it is – has a weak spell check and no grammar check.
Unless you are a perfect typist you will have some mistakes Scrivener won’t catch in spelling and grammar-- and I don’t mean subtle things such as using which when that is correct but major things such as duplicate words the the

That’s surprising. You’d think a spell/grammar check would be a simple and essential thing to include. Thanks for the warning.

I asked about it. Apparently it is VERY expensive to develop an extensive spell & grammar check equivalent to the one in Word. The quote below is from Amber V.

Scrivener is inexpensive and was created by a very small company, so its brilliant innovative features outweigh that flaw, in my opinion.