changing scriptwriting elements settings does icky reset

I’m using Scrivener to draft a new stage play, and it generally seems to work pretty well. But I decided to modify the element paragraph settings, after realizing that the settings that come pre-set aren’t quite right. And then I found out that once I modified the paragraph settings, it converted all the elements in my script to General Text.

In looking at the manual, I see that there’s an awareness that this is going to happen. (I didn’t realize it before I tried it.) This is a Horrible idea. This means that any slight reformatting of elements suddenly makes all of them have to be labeled, by hand. This is a royal pain and horribly inflexible. Is there any chance of changing this? It seems like such an odd thing to do. Part of the beauty of having a script with specifically tagged elements is not just that you can enter text easily and in a standard format, but you can also tweak that format at any time.

(Luckily, I’m only 10 pages in, but it’s still a hassle to go back and re-classify every element. Sigh.)

I agree wholeheartedly. I wrote a stage play last April for Script Frenzy. Same thing happened to me. It was very difficult to fix. I, too, hope this can be fixed.

But therein lies the problem. These aren’t specifically tagged elements. The program is fundamentally a rich text editor; it doesn’t have embedded scriptwriting element codes hidden in the text. All it has to go on are those indent and spacing settings. Change those, and suddenly it no longer knows what the line is supposed to be; it doesn’t match any of the given metrics in the script settings, and so it becomes general.

Generally speaking, you definitely want to make sure your settings are correct before you start writing. However this will be improved in the future. It is a recognised limitation right now that simply couldn’t be coded in in time. In the future, if you tamper with the script settings a secondary dialogue will come up with a transposition table (which you can usually just leave alone as ACTION remains ACTION). Once that is confirmed, the program will adjust the formatting to match the new script settings based on the prior definitions. So it does this in two stages instead of just pulling the rug out from under the original text.

That’s interesting. I didn’t realize that the elements weren’t somehow tagged. I think the solution that you outline seems like it will work pretty well. As long as it can implement the transposition table with minimal effort on the part of the user, that’s great. For now, setting up formatting at the outset and making sure not to change it will have to do.

Yeah, it’s pretty basic. It just has two columns: one column lists all of the elements in the original script settings, the second column lists the new elements. So you can go down and make sure Action -> Action still matches. You mainly only need to mess with it if adding, dropping, or changing element names.

But will that make it so that it handles changes in indent settings? The problem now is that if I change the dialogue margins/indent settings from 2" to 1", Scrivener goes and resets every element to now be “general text.” I don’t want to change element names, just where the text is positioned.

That’s exactly what it will do. It will go through and make changes to all of the metrics if any adjustments have been called for. So after you dismiss the box it will do a two stage conversion. First it will scan each line using the old metrics and if it matches, it will check the conversion table for what element it used to be. Then it will use the info you supplied for what that element will become, (even changing elements if necessary), and apply the new formatting metrics to that line. Then it continues to the next line and on and on until the whole script is updated. On conclusion it will be converted to the new look and feel as you set it up and all elements will thus be recognised as they should be.

That’s perfect. Definitely improve the functionality and flexibility a lot. Thanks for clarifying!