I think I may have brought some elements of this up earlier when I was learning Scrivener. So I’m back with a lot more experience. I am in the middle of my second book. A spy/cold war thriller-type.
I have two or three plots going and a lot of interweaving pieces of investigation and results flowing out and in. I have 12 chapters written and each contains about 5 documents-scenes. I put a synopsis on each document-scene, usually a list of key things that happened in that scene.
This becomes very important as I am now half way though the book. I need to remember threads there were set five chapters ago that should be reporting and coming to fruition now, on in the next chapter, so I need to be able to review the synopsis’ regularly.
This is where it gets sticky. In order to view ALL of the synopsis/corkboards, I have to open every one of the chapter folders and then select all from beginning to end. This produces a rolling screen that includes all synopsis as well as empty ones for each chapter.
So. if I want to continue to write and consult the synopsis I must keep going back and forth, leaving all chapters open and selecting all and scrolling up and down …it takes forever…
What would be great would be to be able to do two things or even one of two things: a) break out the ‘select-all’ corkboard view separately like a quickreference window, and b) printout all synopsis corkboards.
I don’t believe a) is possible ? It would be nice in a future version if I am right that it cannot be done now.
When I try to do b) the print layout only allows three corkboards per page No matter how I shrink ‘page setup’ (I have tried 20% and it has no effect). This right now would result in 18 pages of printouts …
One thing I’m bit a foggy on is what it is you’re actually finding yourself doing repetitively (what is “corkboard select-all” for instance, what menu command is that?) that cannot be returned to simply and without any fuss, by using the editor history feature? Or maybe the history feature isn’t something you’ve experimented with before. It’s one of my favourite tools! I do non-linear type selections quite a bit, myself, not quite the same as you describe, but it’s another “corkboard” that takes a little assembly time. I’ll select say seven different items from the Binder with Cmd-Click so that I have them all together on a corkboard. If I want to go into one of these items and work on it a bit, I can select it and hit the Opt-Cmd-O shortcut. When I’m done and I want to return to my curated corkboard view, I just hit Cmd-[ like in a web browser (or of course just clicking on the back button in the header bar, if that is easier to remember), and poof I’m right back where I started.
There are other features that may help you, if history doesn’t have a long enough memory or what have you. In this case it sounds like you have a sequence of cards, stretching across several chapters, that are all related to one another by a common plot thread. Why not toss all of those into a Collection (Documents/Add to Collection/New Collection)? Then whenever you need it, you click on the tab, and then the coloured header bar below the tab list to load the collection as a corkboard. In short, Collections are a great way of saving selections, and the products of selections. It sounds like you don’t want all of the cards, only those pertinent to the area you’re currently writing in. Why scroll when you can focus—that’s the idea with Collections.
Of course there is also the split view feature. Selecting a card on your corkboard and pressing Shift-Cmd-O or Documents/Open/in Other editor is a good way of keeping something around—but maybe you’re already using splits for something else (just remember both splits have an independent history list, so often even that isn’t a problem)
On the print-out—well one thing you could do is print to PDF and then drop that back into your Binder—but that just strikes me as a complicated reproduction of any of the above solutions that use the actual corkboard. Otherwise, you may note that the index cards on the page are actual index card sized rectangles. This feature is designed for using something like Avery index card stock, or even real index cards, with printers that have a front loader.
A few tips on that though:
Select landscape orientation instead of portrait to make more efficient use of paper space.
Try the “Pages per sheet” option instead of scaling—might be a little microscopic though.
Ok first of all I didn’t refer to any menu command. I was simply using plain english, as an amateur writer, to refer to the process of viewing all of my scenes in one scrolling corkboard view. So I make sure ALL of the chapter folders are open, then I Shift-click on the first scene in chapter 1 and then scroll all the way down and shift-click on the last scene in chapter 12, . That produces an edit window with all of the synopsis on corkboards plus empty ones for each chapter.
I actually hadn’t realised, even after this long, that a right click on the ‘back’ button brought up a history of the editor window. However in my case it doesn’t include any of the corkboard views, only documents.
Another point is this. Scene names cannot really tell very much, so even using history, it is extremely difficult to know where to jump to. In a business document or a non-fiction piece I can see where document titles would make that far far easier.
No. It is impossible to separate out plots into separate corkboards when they overlap within scenes and chapters.
My aim is to view ALL of the synopsis on corkboards, in order.
This is the only way to track how plots interweave and need to be revisited. The only alternative is to read back the whole book every few days.
For example in Chapter 4 one agent was sent to investigate one incident. When I scan back through all of the synopsis I can spot that, and realise that he never reported back. In Chapter 5 finger prints were sent to the lab … same issue.
Also when I don’t write for two days I need to revise … and with ALL of the synopsis on screen I can scroll down and see where each line is and which plot or thread was and is, instead of reading the whole 45,000 words I’ve written to date.
Now I have to say that I have never visited collections. I never understood what they are. I will try to revisit them now and see if that helps, and come back here.
Ok, that increases it from three to four corkboards per page.
Cannot find that anywhere… is it in the Scrivener page setup or the mac print settings ?
Ok my workaround as of this morning is to view the four corkboards for chapter one and do a screen capture. Same for chapter two. Unfortunately chapter 5 has six corkboards and they don’t fit on the screen … so I had to do it in two parts … then I’ll have to redo them when I make changes.
Wouldn’t the outliner view be more valuable here? You could eliminate all columns except for title & synopsis, and then all you have to select is the manuscript folder to see every chapter & scene. There are menu commands to expand all folders in such a view.
In addition to that handiness, there’s also the fact that you can add custom metadata fields to the outline view. These custom metadata fields can be anything, including something like “Subplot(s)”, and would give you a place to jot down which story threads are, or are supposed to be touched on in a given scene/chapter. You can further expand that to have a custom metadata field per subplot, with the field being used to note events that contribute to that thread. For instance; Charlie’s Romance metadata filed could have entries associated with each scene which touches on that subplot. The data in each field might be “Breaks off with Tina”, “Argues with Nancy”, “Chance encounter with N”, “Nancy calls”, “1st Official date w/N”, “Tina dates Cs BFF”. Similarly, there would be another metadata field for each subplot, allowing you to track all the threads as they appear in your book at a glance.
Ok. I found a tutorial on Youtube by Bakari Chavanu that ‘enlightened’ me
This seems to solve my needs. I command-click on every single scene in every chapter and added them to a Collection called “All Scenes”.
Now I have them all in one collection and can view them when I need to.
My mistake not ‘getting’ what Collections are all about.
Parting question: If I go back and add a scene in chapter 4 for example, is it possible to automate that to be added to the above collection ? I suspect I’ll forget … such a way of selecting ‘all documents’ instead of chapters or folders ?
Finding a printing solution would still be a major plus
Compile has an outline “Format As” selection that will let you print out your synopses. You can also select index cards and print them directly, but that takes some card stock and a bunch of cutting (unless your printer can print directly to 3x5 inch cards).
Okay, here are a few navigation tips you might find useful for making this process more efficient: Instead of selecting the scene files directly, select only the folders. Now you don’t have the empty folder entries in the middle of everything, and the Corkboard acquires a “stacked” view that lets you easily see when one chapter ends and the next begins. You can also file the cards into columns or rows, if you prefer.
So to extend that concept to the Collection idea—instead of filing each and every scene that you create, and having to remember to manually curate that list, you can just add your folders. Since creating a new chapter is probably not something you’ll be doing nearly as often as making new scenes, and having a missing chapter in this list would be more obvious—it means less work from you. Now you can just select everything in the Collection to get this stack view in the future.
Another tip: instead of selecting the contents of your Draft by hand, select Draft by itself, and use Documents/Open/With All Subdocuments as Flat List/On Editor Corkboard (Shift-Opt-Cmd-O). The effect should be very similar to shift-clicking all of the scenes.
Okay sure, I wasn’t clear on that point. My suggestion to use Collections was meant more for this type of focussed examination of the novel. Collections can be used for bulk lists like “every scene”, but you’ve already got that list in the Binder, duplicating it in another list (that is flat and not organised by group) probably wouldn’t be terribly useful for most things.
But, if you’re curious how a Collection could be made more efficient for something like “All Scenes”, I would suggest using a Saved Search Collection instead of one that you have to handle yourself. One could for example create a Document Template that has the keyword “Scene” added to it by default, and then click on Draft and use the Documents/Default New Subdocument Type menu to set that prepared “scene” file as the default new text item type. Then, you would set up a Saved Search Collection that looks for that keyword (maybe also choosing the search option to constrain the search to your Draft) and whenever you click on the tab you get a complete listing.
But, again, I don’t feel that is a very efficient approach. Collections are better for paring down the data in the Binder toward some specific purpose, rather than reproducing it.
You should be seeing entries for “Multiple Selection” in the history list, whenever you create one. These are all unique, so if you have three or four of them in the history list, navigating to them will jump you back to those prior selections.
I tend to use fairly long scene names when I’m writing fiction, for this and other reasons. Since they are never printed in the output, what I call a scene is purely for my own benefit, and I might as well take full advantage of that.
Correct on the latter guess, it is a Mac print driver setting that should be available to all programs—and thus a great tip for saving paper in general if you can stand the smaller font. You need to view the print preview panel in its expanded state so that all of the advanced options are visible. It should be under the Layout tab.
As you can tell though, I’m trying to find features that may work for you in Scrivener though. I’d say that Scrivener’s organisation and navigation system is failing if you find a print-out of the Corkboard to be more useful than using the Corkboard itself.
This is a nice one. I get a ‘collection of folders’ and when I select-all (Cmd+A) I get a rolling list of scene corkboards with alternating background colour, designating the different chapters. And yes I see the column effect. Also very nice.
I don’t get stacked. I get all individual corkboards.
On the contrary, this is the exact effect. Following the Collection route means a) not having to expand every chapter, and b) not having empty corkboards for the chapters.
This is something like the example used by the chap on the youtube tutorial. Nice idea.
No sign of “Pages per sheet” in print options and to be honest I have no recollection of seeing it … and I am a long time mac user.
No necessarily. I am sure many fiction writers like me do some work away from the computer. I personally do all of my plot work in a cafe … with no writing. But having a printout of the synopsis in the way I have described would be a major help.
Well I made an enormous mistake in that line of thinking … I thought I had understood the principle of ‘smart folders’. But just now I decided to delete the Collection I had made of "All Scenes’. To my shock and horror all of the original scenes were moved to the trash … Yes I was able to move them back to the Manuscript but no idea about the chapters splits …
In fact you were more correct initially, that it is similar in concept to Finder’s Smart Folder (setting aside that arbitrary collections aren’t driven by a search, but what you add or remove to it). The principle is the same: this is a list of items from the Binder. These are the real items, not copies—just like with a Smart Folder: if you select everything in a Smart Folder and trash them, they will be moved to the trash from their original locations on your disk. It’s the purple Smart Folder thing itself you want to delete, not the items from it, to continue the analogy.
To remove the Collection itself, click the - button in the grey header bar, up at the top of the tab list. That has absolutely no impact on the original items—it just removes this custom listing from your sidebar.
Don’t forget you can load up prior versions of the project from your backup folder. You might not want to actually fully revert, since all you need is the organisation, but rather just to use that open Binder as a reference, along side the main WIP.
⠂─────── ⟢⟡⟣ ─────── ⠂
We might be using different terms for the same thing. What you referred to as a rolling corkboard, earlier, is what we call a corkboard stack in the docs.
Hmm, maybe your printer driver doesn’t support it? This feature has been around since at least 2002, maybe even since the very beginning of OS X.
Sure, no debate there, but again I was talking about when you’re sitting in front of your computer using Scrivener, since that was how you framed needing it, rather a coffeehouse example. If you’re having to print out the corkboard to PDF and importing it back into the Binder to have a decent reference, or printing it out to paper and taping it to the side of your monitor while you’re using the software, then something is wrong.
Just a final revisit to this printout formatting issue within Scrivener. I attach a screenshot of the print preview of “4 pages per sheet” and “2 pages per sheet” and there seems nothing I can do to reduce the huge border space that doesn’t help at all with the printing, causing the font to be so small it is hard to read.
Ok theoretically I can chose 1 per sheet but I end up printing masses amounts of paper
Again AmberV … I don’t want to come across as whining … I am trying to offer feedback from my own point of view. What you do with it is up to Scrivener
Returning to a point Robert made much earlier in this thread–have you considered just compiling all the document titles and synopses rather than printing the corkboad? If you’re not cutting the paper to make index cards that you can shuffle around at the cafe, the compile option seems more useful, as you can control the formatting and fit much more on a page, even view outline depth if you choose.