Embed / Mesh Outline in Novel Project

I am enrolled in the MasterClass series of lectures. Among other writers (Joyce Carol Oates is great!) I watched James Patterson’s talk on Outlining. He includes a novel outline which consists of one brief paragraph for each chapter. I’m a terrible outliner, but if I wanted to write an outline like that to supplement a work already in progress, what’s the best way to nest it in Scrivener, so that the parts could be pulled out as a series of paragraphs, then allow them to mesh back into their proper place near the chapters they represent in the existing project? Is it even possible?

I’d definitely (and quite simply) use the dedicated synopsis space + outliner view.


I’ll try that. Trying to remember how to split my view between Doucument and Outliner with Binder at left. That’s possible, right?

You documents need to be sub-documents of an enclosing group for them to show up in the outliner.
Then select the parent file, and all the sub-documents will show up as a list reflecting binder order.

In your case, by your description, the enclosing group being the draft itself.
Use a label with a flashy color so your “to me moved into position” documents are easy to spot in the outliner.




1 Like

Although I would ask:
Why not simply add this extra stuff, right away, directly in the concerned documents’ synopsis tab ?

Why create an extra document, add this “synopsis” to it, to then locate the document if affiliates to, when you could just locate that said document, and add that extra content directly to it. (Synopsis tab, notes, editor or… anywhere, really.)

Thanks; I’d gotten out of the habit of using inspector or outline and I think that’s a good suggestion.

PS - does anyone know the character / word limit for a synopsis?

There isn’t one, but there is a limit to how much text you can display in the Inspector.

What about in the Outline View - is there a limit there? Never mind, I just put about 1,500 words into a Synopsis and viewed the whole thing in the Outline view. Not likely I would ever need more than that!!

Make sure to uncheck the View → Outliner Options → Use Fixed Row Height option.

You might also try outlining in a dedicated outliner like Dynalist (the free version should work fine for this) and then import the results as an OPML file. Scrivener will automagically turn your OPML outline into a hierarchy in the Binder. It’s very slick.

I find that outlining in a dedicated outlining app makes the process go much faster and smoother. Then you can bring it into Scrivener to turn it into pages.