I agree to Sophie that the auto-titling of documents would be a great feature, but only as an option and not as a replacement of the present behaviour.
One strength of Scrivener is its flexibility, it can so easily be adjusted to a writer’s needs and the writer has not to adjust his writing process to the software as with so many other apps.
And one thing we can sure about is that with 1000 writers there will be at least 1000 different ways how they organize their texts in the binder, how big the text chunks are and what names they have.
One might use document titles like Chapter 1, Chapter 2 etc. because for him every chapter must be a document. Another one might use dry categories like Exposition, First Conflict, Showdown and such.
Number three works with very tiny pieces, complete scenes at most. They won’t have any headlines in the final text and they don’t have any titles in the writer’s head. Their document titles are just for fast identification in the (probably very crammed) binder. Like in a DVD menu where you get a picture to identify the scene you want to watch, the first words of a Scrivener document like ‘Mannie lits his cigarette in the pouring rain’ say all you need. And if this could be automatized it would be a big time saver.
Neither of theses methods is better than the other. It depends on both personal preferences of a writer and the type of text he’s working on.
Maybe you have a look at how Together handles this, Keith:
– a new note is called New Note
– if it does not get renamed and has no content, it will be deleted after the user has left it [not necessary for Scrivener, I’d say]
– after the user has left the note, i. e. clicked on another item or something like that, the note automatically is named after the first n words/characters (I don’t know which and how many, seems to be kind of a trade secret) of the note
– this won’t happen if the user already has named the note manually; only new notes still named New Note will get renamed automatically
– the preferences offer the option that a note always will be automatically named after its first n words, meaning: whenever you change the beginning of a note its title will be changed too; when this feature was introduced it was the default which a lot of people understandably found very disturbing.
I’m fully aware that an storage manager/note book app like Together is different than Scrivener (if they were not, I wouldn’t use Together as I already have the mighty Scrivener). In Together I keep all the stuff that just rushes through my head, don’t know what it is for, don’t know what I could name it. First words as an identifier, some tags maybe, that’s it. And in Scrivener I work on a project. Binder and note cards help me to structure the texts. No chaos above the equator called research folder!
And I do know that automatizing has its limits. Actually, just recently I tried to convince Steve Harris, the Together programmer, to include a very helpful (context) menu called Set Selected Text As Title—heard of that one before, haven’t you?—for all cases the auto-titling does not work.
But still—as an option auto-titling of documents can be very handy sometimes.