Can I Prevent Carriage Returns in Compiling Between Documents?

I use a blank line, just a carriage return, to separate scenes inside a chapter in fiction. Each scene may have more than one document inside a folder which represents a chapter. So a chapter may have 1-5 scenes, and every scene may have 1-8 documents. I prefer no ‘dingus’ icon to separate scenes.

If it is the last document in the scene as well as in the chapter, I add no blank line.

If it is one of the earlier documents in a scene (not the end of the scene), I place no blank line at the bottom of it. The only blank lines indicating a scene change then come at the very bottom of the last document in each scene (other than a scene that ends a chapter).

When I compile this to epub or mobi, this adds another blank line between those documents, which means there are blank lines where I do not want them.

In the locations where I do want a blank line (between scenes in a multiple-scene chapter, which is also a boundary between documents) it adds both that desired blank line and another, undesired blank line.

So it is adding a blank line between all documents in a chapter folder.

I tried the compile setting for removing trailing white space, yet that does not seem to be the issue here, and neither ‘remove’ nor ‘don’t remove’ gives the same result, so that seems like it’s not a part of this.

The only cure it seems would be to combine the documents, so every scene has just one document, then not add a blank line, as compiling seems to add that all on its own.

But that is not what I want. I want to maintain multiple docs per scene bc this makes it much easier to manage in the binder and outliner.

So the question then becomes this: Is there a way I can maintain multiple documents inside a chapter or scene without the compiling adding additional unwanted blank lines between them?

This seems to be a compiler issue and not an e-reader issue. My understanding is that when the compiler compiles, it stitches the docs together, which implies that any sort of marker or division between the docs would likely be invisible to an e-reader.

I can’t seem to find any explanation in the manual about this.

Check out the Separators section in the Compile format editor. (See 24.4 in the manual for more details.)

Yes, it sounds like you are managing the separators manually in your text but your compile format is “helping” by adding separators for you. As November Sierra says you can tell your compile format Separators section to quit doing that.

Still, in future you might find it useful to work in a way that groups the scene docs into folders also – which then would enable Scrivener to do all the separators for you (which could vary between kinds of output). Here is how I would think of this situation:

A natural approach to this would be to have a folder for each chapter inside of which is a folder for each scene inside of which is all the documents in a given scene. Which corresponds to the three different kinds of thing which need distinct demarcation in terms of separators: Chapter folders, Scene folders, & text docs. The two kinds of folder in particular would want to be assigned distinct Section Types, so you could specify their behavior differently in the Separators panel.

As the compiler works its way from doc to doc, you don’t want it to add a blank line, so you want separator = /single return/. But as the compiler works its way from Scene folder to Scene folder, you do want it to add an /empty line/. Finally, there is whatever you want to happen when we go from Chapter folder to Chapter folder – often this occasions a /page break/.

Working in this way means you can see scenes right in the Binder, and makes moving whole scenes around simpler.


OK. My bad. I figured it out.

Somehow, I had clicked on the default format in the compiler, which apparently does add ‘2 returns’. When I clicked back on my format, the problem went away.

But wow—that 987-page manual is the biggest word salad ever. What it needs, ironically enough, is a good Editor. I wish there was a version that was formatted as a Scrivener document, as Scrivener has super-powerful search capabilities, and searching in a PDF is pretty feckless, since you can’t search for terms that have multiple words.

I tried the scenes nested in another hierarchal folder level trick a few weeks ago. It made sense, until it didn’t, and I reverted. It wasn’t about whether it placed separators the way I wished or anything like that.

Some scenes span chapter boundaries. As Sol Stein recommends, many of my scenes start with a ‘push’ at the end of a chapter which is the beginning of the next scene in that next chapter. Maybe 100 words. Keeps readers curious regarding what might happen next. So, no, the entire scene, spanning a chapter break, can’t live all in the same folder.

I just number them, like ‘25a, 25b, 25c, 26, 27a, 27b’ etc. And I iconize the docs to indicate if they start a scene, end a scene, or push to a new chapter. I also color-code them for dialogue, action, narrative, or some combination. All that really helps solidify the 10,000-ft. view.

I also am not fond of shortcuts to formatting, as they are often hidden. I prefer WYSIWYG, and I’d rather do the due diligence of formatting it myself, ruling with an iron fist.

As my favorite old boss would say, ‘Ex-pect what you In-spect’.

The user manual is available for download as a Scrivener project, although apparently it is somewhat out of date.

I have sometimes dealt with something like this (when trying to craft a page-turner) by creating a Chapter-break document that has no content but simply induces a chapter break. Folders represent organic scene units, documents are scene-moments (“scenelets”,“shots”). And I can move copies of the chap-document around and put them between whatever scene-moments I want to cause a chapter to break there – like right at the exciting part that you simply must know the conclusion of in that scene. In the end each chap doc copy is given a chapter name and <voila!> every chapter is a cliffhanger!

You can always read a good book on the topic:


Wow, 10 different books one can buy to learn Scrivener - I don’t find Scrivener that complicated.

But it’s edited and only 500 pages. :wink:

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Those sound like good ideas.

I just use a folder as a chapter break element, and put an icon and the ch number (Chapter <$t>) and the ch title in it, bc I title the chapter with whatever phrase is most intriguing from inside the chapter, and I want to see how that all looks compiled during the revision process. Sometimes I include an epigraph under the title.

Little cliff-hangers are a nice tool, but I would honestly not recommend forcing them at the end of every chapter. Readers need moments of closure and resolution, too, which leads to reader satisfaction rather than reader frustration (no one reads a 90,000-word novel directly through for 6 hours straight—they need to put it down occasionally, and the average adult reader reads for only 42 minutes at a stretch, regardless how compelling the novel might be).

I think they would find constant cliffies exhausting, and repetitive, and when that happens, they lose their effect and the reader’s mind dulls for lack of variety.

I also think it’s nearly impossible to create a legit cliffie (Sol Stein refers to these as ‘pushes’) every single time, bc not every single first scene in a next chapter can be a super high-drama scene (also exhausting). Our wishful thinking might be to create constant ‘peaks’, but without brief, shallow valleys between them, what we end up with is a flat landscape—a flat story. No variety, no emotional topography, no moments for the reader to catch their breath and regard the resolution moments of a previous scene.

And two action scenes back to back means the second one will lose some of its impact (put something between them). Plot manipulation should target the organic rather than the preposterous.

And if we force ‘cliffies’ bc we feel we must, some of them just will not have a strong payoff, and the reader will feel the rug has been pulled out, and that we did not deliver on a promise. And the novel then goes sailing off the balcony like a discus.

So I do this only when it works well, which is about 1/3 of the time, and then they stand out (another third are self-contained scenes ending chapters, and another third are scenes which span chapter breaks at a point of mild change in energy or focus, which can be sort of a milder ‘push’ without being obvious or feeling to the reader like a manipulation).

But little cliffies are not what keeps readers turning pages. A good story told well, is.

Yes, the strategy in question here was aimed at letting scene groupings stay as structural wholes, not sometimes split into diff chapter folders. It also facilitated my not thinking about chapter divisions until later.

I might have been guilty of a little exaggeration. But all very good advice, for sure.

… and part of telling a story well is good control of rising and falling tension, at the level of scenes and chapters as well as the story as a whole.