Compile Question

I currently use WriteItNow and like it quite well. However, it doesn’t support series very well, which I think Scrivener will handle with ease. I’ve played around with the Windows Beta for a bit now, importing some of my WriteItNow output, and it leads me to a couple of questions:

  1. I deliberately enter an extra line between paragraphs when typing. It’s a quirk, I know, but it helps me easily distinguish the text as I’m writing. I also keep everything flush left. So, the text as I’m editing looks like this:

This is my first paragraph. It has some text, and possibly some more, and more, and more, and more, and more, and more, and so on.

This is my second paragraph, etc.

On export, WriteItNow allows me to specify an initial indent, and it allows me to remove blank lines before producing the output. Does Scrivener offer the same options on Compile?

  1. Is there a simple way to keep multiple novels in a series in one binder and compile them individually? This is the real pull away from WriteItNow. The first question could be dealt with painfully with much search/replace if required … although it would require a new writing “feel” for me … not sure I would like that.

Really appreciate your thoughts as I evaluate this program. It seems incredibly powerful, but all I want is an organizer for my series notes/characters and a way to produce exactly what I want from lightly formatted text.

Thank you!

The extra line thing is going to be more difficult; there isn’t an automatic way of doing that. If all you do is output RTF files—I’d just not worry about it. Save the search and replace for when you compile and do that in a word processor. Keep working the way you are comfortable. If you need the web, e-book, and PDF stuff in Scrivener and want it to look at least somewhat normal, then that’s going to be more difficult to deal with.

On the other hand, indents are no problem. In fact if you choose one of the standard compile presets this should already be happening by default. One of the fundamental concepts behind this program is that you can write however you want and let the compiler handle the look and feel later on. It means you can work in a comfy font and layout; and it also means you can make an e-book with a standard serif font one minute and a Courier 12pt submission draft the next. So adding indents is second nature.

Question 2: I’d just sort them into top-level folders. “Book 1: Blah blah”, “Book 2: Et cetera” within the Draft. One of the features in the compiler, in the Contents option pane, is the ability to select any sub-folder from the Draft and use that as the entire work instead of the whole thing. Better yet, if you set that up, the Project Statistics panel will only use that one folder for word counts. So even though the Draft folder might have four books worth of material in it—the program will act as though you’re only working in one book at a time.


The top-level folder idea works perfectly! I also tried exporting and using Word to do the paragraph search and replace … worked well, even if it is an extra step.

I love the organization I get, even if I have to create and maintain my own templates for things like character sketches, etc. WriteItNow has a lot more structured approach, but that means you have to work within existing boundaries. I like that structure for the most part, so this is a hard decision.

For example, WriteItNow has a highly structured form for entering character data … birthdates, relationships, personality traits. The downside of that is having to follow the form. But the upside is how it auto-creates timelines and relationship charts for you. I haven’t seen anything like that in Scrivener.

Really appreciate your help! I’m sure I’ll have a few more questions before I make a final decision.

Keep in mind also that you can change the default formatting so that you have extra space between paragraphs. This can give you the same visual separation without adding an extra line that needs to be stripped out later. Downside of course is that you’ll have to re-train yourself not to hit Enter twice. :slight_smile:

If you want to do that, in the Editor tab of Tools>Options…, click in the sample text to select it and then choose “More…” from the pop-up spacing menu above (probably says 1.0x or something now). You can then enter before or after paragraph spacing, so just play with that until you get something you like.

As for character relationships, no, Scrivener doesn’t build things like that for you, but you can use document references to link different documents together–so for instance if you have a bunch of different character sketches, you can load Character A’s sheet in the editor, go into the Document References area at the bottom of the inspector (click the little stack of books) and drag in the other character documents you want to associate with it. You can do the same sort of thing if you want to reference a character from a scene she’s in. Double-clicking on the document icon in the reference list will open that document in the split editor.

You could also try using keywords as a way to tie documents together–maybe create a keyword for each of your main characters and assign that to the scenes they’re in or use them as a way to associate connected characters. Since you can give keywords a color and see those colors on the corkboard (make sure View > Corkboard Options > Show Keyword Colors is ticked), it might be a way for you to visualize relationships.

On structure vs. no structure—that’s going to be a very personal choice. Some people thrive with a little rigidity, other people are always bashing their heads against it, but I suspect most people float somewhere in between. The nice thing about an un-structured program like Scrivener is that it can work for just about any style of writing. We’ve got everyone from patent lawyers to poets using this software; it has very few boundaries. Who knows, maybe you’ll be asked to write an article and in a more structured program it might be difficult to use it for that article so you find yourself using Word instead and missing your comfortable software. So I suppose that is the biggest advantage to an un-structured program, outside of personal preference. But if your bread and butter fits nicely into a structured program and that helps you write, it might not be the best tool. Only way to find out is to give it a shot!

In my experience, there isn’t much that Scrivener can’t do in terms of what other programs offer. MM’s tips on how to replicate various character tracking and such using the existing tools are exactly what I mean. The trouble is, you kind of have to piece it all together and find your best approach. There is a lot of good advice on these forums that can help you learn which tools might be best for the job and which you shouldn’t waste your time on trying to coerce into something they aren’t good at. The usage and zen sections of this forum, while often Mac biased in the details are often going to contain some good philosophical direction on how to take the program where you need it.

Hope it works for you; but if not no big deal! No saxophone will work for every sax player. :slight_smile:

All fantastic suggestions! I am continuing to push forward with trying Scrivener, and I am liking it. I do like WriteItNow as well, but the inability to easily handle a series is looming larger as I move on to book two.

My suspicion at this point is that I’ll make the switch … although it feels a bit like abandoning an old friend.

The habit may be hard to break, but if you’re willing to try, you can simulate the look of the extra spaces between paragraphs with Scrivener’s editor settings.

Go to Tools->options, and in the pop-up window, choose the Editor tab. (This is where you can eliminate the default paragraph indent, by the way.)
Next to the big “U” (underline) icon, there’s a drop-down list for line spacing. Click the down-arrow and choose “More…”
The second half of the next window allows you to put extra space between paragraphs, either before or after them.

These settings won’t affect your compiled text, so you can have a different look for composing text and for printing (or pdf-ing or ebook-ing).

Yeah, ultimately if you are writing rich text (normal word processor style stuff), it might be a habit worth breaking. The only folks I’d recommend double spacing paragraphs to are those who are using some kind of plain-text marking system like MultiMarkdown, LaTeX, Textile, etc—in other words they aren’t using bold and italics and indenting but passing raw text through some kind of “engine” that turns it into a pleasing output.

With rich text, your base text will be much more agile if you stick to single breaks and use visual settings to space things apart. You can achieve the same look you prefer with flush left and spaces, but give yourself the flexibility to use a more traditional no-space/indent model for outputs, with the compiler settings.

This post has been removed because I am silly!

Psst. Windows, though. :wink:

Aw, darn it. I knew there must’ve been a reason neither of us mentioned it before. Edited!

I really like the option of using the Tools->Options->Editor Tab Paragraph settings to simulate extra space between paragraphs. However, this setting appears to be used for compiling as well. Is this a bug or is there a place to specify compile font/paragraph settings?

It appeared that the “Formatting” option under Compile allows for modification of these kinds of things, but it doesn’t work.

In my simple example, I have a couple of chapters of text. While editing, I can get it to look like I want with single spacing within a paragraph and something like 12pt after a paragraph. When I compile, under the “Formatting” option, I see three types of text: Level 1+, Level 1, and Level 2+. When I select any of these three levels and click the Modify button, it indicates the output spacing is set to double spacing (“Novel Standard Manuscript Format”) with 0 pt after the paragraph; however, the output matches the editor setting.

BTW, thank you all so much for the quick responses and fantastic suggestions.

I’m using the latest version for Windows, downloaded a few days ago. I’ve noticed references to a NaNoWriMo version. Is that different, or is what I’m working with actually the latest? And, do you know when I’ll be able to purchase the Windows version.

Make sure that in that “Formatting” pane in Compile, you have the box ticked near the top that says “Override text and notes formatting.” If that’s not set, then your text will compile using the formatting in the editor. Also be sure that the individual documents you’re compiling aren’t set to “Compile as-is”–you can set that in the inspector or in the “Contents” pane of compile. If that is set, the document will compile exactly as you see it in the editor, ignoring the formatting set for its level/type including various additional elements to compile–i.e. it will always compile just the text of the document, as formatted in the editor, and will not include title, synopsis, or any other element that might be set in the “Formatting” pane for that document’s level and type.

The NaNoWriMo version is a special trial for NaNoWriMo participants that has an extended date (lasts all through the month of November until Dec 7th) and has a template and such for a NaNWriMo project. It’s slightly newer than the 035 beta, though most of the changes aren’t immediately obvious–drag and drop functionality in the binder is the biggest, going back to earlier behavior and just sprucing it up. All of these changes and more will be incorporated into the next standard release, so although you’re free to download the NaNoWriMo trial if you want to, you can just wait for the next regular edition.

Triple checked all the settings to make sure they’re correct. I’m compiling one chapter and the documents settings are:

Compile as-is is not set.
Paragraph setting is 24pt (for visual emphasis) after the paragraph.

When I go into Compile, the “Override text and notes formatting” is set, and I’m using the Novel Standard Manuscript Formatting settings.

Yet, I still get the 24pt extra space after paragraphs. I love the multiple options and power, even though I see how they could easily lead to confusion. Based on potential alone, I’d go ahead and buy the Windows version now if I could. However, this really looks like a Compile formatting bug at this point.

I fully expect you to write back and say, “Did you check the ignore document after-paragraph spacing box under the compiling-on-Saturdays-in-October section?” :slight_smile:

Mm, nope, it looks like a bug. I’ve passed that on to Lee so we can get it fixed. It should of course use the settings in compile and so not have that spacing. I’d still suggest using that method for now, as once the bug is fixed your compile output will be correct, and even as it is now, this is probably a much faster adjustment in your word processor after compile than using find/replace to strip empty lines. Thanks for catching this!

Really appreciate all the help!

I’ll keep playing with things. If I find more stuff that I don’t understand, or looks like a bug, should I post a question here or is there a more appropriate spot? I’ll be glad to send an email if that would be better.

For questions you can start a new post in this Tech Support forum; if it’s buggy you can put it in the Windows Bug Hunt forum. (Obviously though there’s likely to be overlap–you might very well not understand something if the behavior is buggy!–so it’s not a big deal if it ends up in the “wrong” forum.) You’re also welcome to email anything to support AT literatureandlatte DOT com, although a benefit of the forums is that you’ll be able to garner answers and suggestions from other users, so especially for “how best could I do this?” sort of questions, I highly recommend posting here.