bewildered with choices

Hello, I just got Scrivener - I’ve been wanting it for a long time, but didn’t have a Mac. (Now I’ve got a Mac, so a PC version is being released, doesn’t that figure?) I am not sure where this post should go, but I am definitely needing some tips and tricks!

Now that I have the software installed, here’s what I want to do:

  1. Move in the bits on a novel that’s in progress
  2. Create another project for the notes and research on a novel in the works
  3. Import several short stories that need revision
  4. Start a story from scratch from within Scrivener

I’ve watched the main video and done the tutorial, but I’m concerned about getting each type of work set up properly. Can anyone suggest an orderly approach or tell me how they got started?

I have moved in what’s been typed of one story in progress and set up some character and place files and I really love how doing this is making me look at things all over again. But I’m being a bit timid. Thanks for any suggestions!

Hello Tenaya,

Welcome. Those are big questions you’re asking. One early step it may be worthwhile for you to take is a search for “Scrivener” on the website of the novelist David Hewson, who has blogged extensively on his use of Scrivener 2. Here is a link to one of those posts from last November, when he published his simple novel-writing template which you can download. David knows about technology, and has put down a lot of sound sense (in my view) about writing.



Welcome to the forum, and thanks for buying Scrivener!

I’ve moved this to the Technical Support forum as that is the best place to ask questions. As Hugh says, these are quite big questions in that there are many ways you can proceed, and there’s no right or wrong way to structure or organise your work. In general there’s no “proper” way of setting things up, except that:

• You should keep the parts (scenes, chapters whatever) of the project that are part of the novel itself - the text or manuscript components - in the “Draft” folder (the “Draft” folder can be renamed, and is called “Manuscript” in the novel templates, but its icon is the white manuscript icon).

• Research, notes or other supporting documents can go anywhere else (for instance, in the “Research” folder, but you can create other top-level folders as well, so they can go elsewhere too - just don’t put them inside the “Draft” folder or they will become part of your manuscript.

And that’s about it as far as “proper setup” goes. Other than that, you can just get on with structuring and organising your work. The one other thing you will need to worry about is formatting your manuscript or draft on export or print (when you need to print it all off, or when it’s complete). At that point, if you haven’t used one of the templates structures, you will need to learn a little about the “Compile” settings to get things set up correctly.

Some specific answers, though:

Just create a project and either use File > Import > Files… or drag your work from the Finder into Scrivener’s binder (remember that you will only be allowed to bring text files into the Draft folder, so to import non-text files make sure that a non-Draft file is selected in the binder). You can use the Documents > Spit features to chop up any imported documents into smaller, more manageable pieces. You may wish to use one of the novel templates, which are set up for writing a novel and formatting it during Compile, but you don’t have to. If you don’t, I recommend you at least take a look at one of the novel template projects, hammer out some text as a test, and go through the File > Compile process to see the results, and to get an idea of how the Compile settings are set up).

This will be exactly the same process as above.

You could use the “Short Story” template for this. It’s up to you whether you keep each story in a separate project or put several stories into a single project. If you decide on the latter, make a folder for each story inside the “Short Story” Draft folder (you could change the title to “Stories”). Each story folder would then have a “First Page Header”, and scenes in a “Story” subfolder below that. When you went to compile, you would then choose a particular story folder to compile only that folder.

Just create a new project and off you go. :slight_smile:

Be sure to take a look through the other videos, as they will help give you a good idea of the different things you can do, and may give you some ideas for your own workflow.

In general, just dive in and set things up how you want, and don’t worry about anything other than the writing. You can worry about formatting it all and restructuring to make best use of the Compile feature if necessary later down the line. (We still need a thorough screencast on compiling…)

Hope that helps!

All the best,

I have a question about exporting. I want to send what I have written so far to a beta reader for feedback. Currently I have each chapter in my draft as a separate part of the binder. If I export it to send it to her, will it put it all into one document for her? AND will it become one document for me, too, as I continue working?

I want to keep drafting with each chapter separate, so what’s the best way to send it to a beta reader without having to copy and paste each chapter into a new document in Pages?

You Compile it to the format you want to send to your beta reader. Read in the manual about the Compile command, and as you will need to learn more about compiling anyhow when your book is done, buy a book about how to publish with Scrivener.