Compile window: two right hand side columns should be swapped

True enough… but I’ve given a great deal of thought to types, and use them to make pacing my novels easy.

Many fiction authors want events to happen at a certain point in the novel—if you use the “save the cat” structure, those would be theme exposition, catalyst, break to act 2, midpoint of act 2, etc. They struggle with placing them using the chapter/scene paradigm. I use another section type which I’ve invented, called (unimaginatively) “chunks”.

Underneath the top level, I have four folders for acts, which have the section type “chunk”. Beneath those, I have various pacing folders (opening to theme exposition, theme to catalyst, etc.) which also have the type “chunk”. Finally, inside the pacing folders, I have my chapter folders. Thus, my chapter folders are actually 3 levels down. I have my “default types by structure” set to provide this automatically.

When it comes to compiling, I search for the “chunk” section type and turn off “include in compile” for all those folders. Thus, these folders never affect my final output. But while I’m writing, I leave them in. I assign word count targets only to the pacing-level “chunks.” These then sum to the correct targets for each act. In the outliner, I can easily see actual word counts and total word counts up the chain, as it were, and can see that my first act is 20% over target, and all the fat is in the Setup chunk, which has 3 chapters, two of which I should really pare down. Maybe those scenes with that one character should come later… or could they be combined? Maybe just cut…

This kind of at-a-glance “oh that’s why that section is dragging” analysis is challenging to impossible with any other software besides Scrivener. My editors criticise many things about my writing, but I rarely hear complaints about my pacing. Using section types imaginatively makes it much easier.