Chapter Headings for an Anthology

Greetings fellow writers!

One of my current projects is a compilation of…well, essentially roleplaying fan fiction from some of my college buddies. Each chapter/section is a Word file. I’ve imported all the files into a Scrivener project and applied some formatting defaults to clean things up. (The original files were written over the course of several years and their formatting varies widely, but that’s a whole separate discussion). So anyway, consider this work a semi-contiguous anthology. My eventual goal is to compile everything into a single .epub and/or .mobi file to distribute to the old college crowd.

What I’m looking for is advice on formatting the beginning of each story episode. The essential format of the beginning is something like this:

[Story Number and Name] (Example: “Episode 23: Escape and Evasion”)
[Part #, for multi-part episodes] (Example: “Part 2: Smokey, CJ, and Malcolm”)
[A quote, usually from one of the characters, but also may be from contemporary literature] (Example: “Last stands are some of the most fascinating occurrences in the history of warfare…”, a quote from Malcolm, a character in the story)

So far I’ve thought of two options. Option 1 is settling on a standard heading format and manually tweaking this at the beginning of each episode. Option 2 is creating a separate “header document” template and inserting this before each episode. I’m actually leaning toward option 2 at present, as I can create a document template.

Anyway, I’m suffering a bit of AP (analysis paralysis) because I know there’s more than one way for Scrivener to do this. If the hive mind has other advice, my ears are wide open.

Write on,

Erik

Hi Erik,

When you’re envisioning your ePub/Mobi, do you want each part to be called out in a ToC? And, do you want each episode to be treated the same way that a chapter might be in a novel?

If so, then I’d structure this project similar to the novel with parts template. That would give you a folder at the parts level for each related group of chapters/stories. You could use those folders for creating parts headings in the output file.

Each story could then have its own chapter folder, which would allow you to have their document titles turned into chapter headings. You could even write the opening quote into the chapter folder’s text and format it with a block quote.

The actual text of the story could be a document per scene within that folder, which would allow you to include markers for scene breaks if needed.

I’m attaching a sample project I have with that general structure, just to give you an idea of one option for structuring something like this. I’m sure others will have some additional ideas.

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Hey Ruth,

Sorry for delayed response; work has been a little crazy this week.

Anyway yes, I would like each chapter/episode called out in a TOC, much like a novel chapter. The length of each will vary widely, which is not surprising given the variation in writing style over the time they were originally composed. “Novel with Parts” looks like an excellent starting point.

Your response pretty much hits the nail on the head; thank you!

Erik

I’m glad those tips were helpful, Erik.

If you find that you’re running into structuring issues or questions, please let me know. I can mock up a sample project to send to you if that would be helpful.

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I’m still struggling with this, in part because I don’t write nearly as often as I should! My basic intended structure consists of a Parts → Chapters → Scenes hierarchy.

Each “Part” is a group of stories taking place at a particular point in the overall narrative of the anthology.

Each “Chapter” is an individual story in a Part. These stories currently exist as Word files. Importing them into the project is easy enough, as are all the basic edits (spelling, grammar, paragraph indents, etc.).

Each “Scene,” if I go this far, is a further subdivision of a chapter.

Am I fretting too much about the eventual look of the compiled project? I wanted to spend some time writing tonight, but “analysis paralysis” has hit me again. Or maybe it’s just been a really long week.

I wouldn’t say that you’re fretting too much. I will note that I’ll often distract myself from the actual work of writing or editing by “fiddling” with my structure and settings.

If I were structuring your project, I’d use a folder for each “Part” to collect the group of stories share a particular point in the narrative.

I’d give each story its own folder within that Parts folder, which would allow me to treat each story as its own “chapter” in my anthology when I compile it later. That approach would also allow for compiling each short story separately and crediting each writer for their particular work in the anthology.

Each story’s folder would have one document per scene. So, if a story is 5,000 words and has three scene breaks, I’d have three documents in that story’s folder.

If another story is 1,500 words with no scene breaks, I’d have a single document in that story’s folder.

With that approach, I could have Scrivener provide some scene break indicators when compiling the book later. That could help readers recognize “Hey, this particular short story is taking a jump forward in time or moving to a different location,” much like they’re used to seeing in a novel’s chapters.

Let’s take a published anthology as an example so this isn’t such an abstract discussion.

I’ll use From a Certain Point of View (this Star Wars anthology) as my example.

If I were structuring a Scrivener project for it, I’d have Parts folders for each group of stories based on their setting. So, a folder for material that takes place on Tatooine and another for the Death Star as a starting point. (I might also have one for a group of stories from the Rebel base before the Death Star or even break down the Tatooine material to different settings if needed.)

Within those folders, I’d have a subfolder for each story, which would give me a total of forty subfolders since this anthology contains forty stories. Then, each subfolder would have as many documents as needed to match the scene counts in each story.

Does that example help?

If needed, you could create a ZIP copy of your project and send me a direct message sharing it. I’ll gladly review it.

I’m mentioning the direct message option since I’m assuming you’d rather not share the project on the public part of the forum. You should be able to click on my forum name and then select “Message” from there.

You could also open a help ticket and reference this discussion if you’d rather share the project that way.

Our contact emails are:

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I can do that (share the project). It’ll have to be when I get home, as I should probably “work” first.

To complete this particular project requires two main stages. Stage 1 is to clean up the formatting of the individual stories. This will be a huge step. The formatting in the original Word files is very…“loosey goosey” would be a good description. I want to clean up paragraph indents, punctuation, capitalization, etc., and make a last round of minor tweaks to the wording. Quirks and all, I’d like to leave the dialogue and narration more or less intact. This project will never see publication. Its main objective is to preserve the work some of us did in our first few post-college years.

Stage 2 is compiling. That is, I suppose, more directly related to the subject of my post. Last night I realized that I have multiple versions of some stories in the project. I want to pick which versions to keep in the final main narrative, and maybe shuffle the others into an “outtakes” or “apocrypha” section, a way to preserve them without disrupting the overall story flow. The main narrative is where I will spend the most effort on formatting. I’m only beginning to grasp some of Scrivener’s tools for section/scene breaks etc. Until now I had just never thought of adopting this kind of structure.

Well anyway, I’ll compile what I have and PM it to you at some point this weekend. We can take the discussion from there.

Regards,

Erik

This can be automatically handled at compile.
If you want to standardize your stories so that they’re all formatted as if they belong together in a single book, leave that to the compile process. (You’d be wasting your time, doing it in the editor.)

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Maybe not completely wasted, as I still have some tweaks to make to dialogue and narrative. But yeah, maybe it would be a useful exercise to do some “trial compilations” to get a feel for the process. Thank you for the input!

I’m only referring to your general formatting. Indents, spacing, font etc.

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Ah, gotcha. I might still do some test compiles.

It’s the thing to do. :wink: