Folder Separators


I’m trying to compile a short story with two types of scene breaks. One, a minor scene break, is just a blank line; this is being handled perfectly well when compiling, as a blank line with one # hash mark centered is placed between text documents. The other is a major scene break, which I typically see as a blank line with three asterisks on it. It’s the equivalent of a chapter break for a short story. The problem is, I can’t seem to convince Scrivener to do this.

I have my story arranged into folders, one for each major division. I’m using the included short story template. I would like to place one of these three-asterisk lines between folders. If I set this up as the folder separator, it does not appear at all. Likewise, if I set it up as the text and folder separator, it does not appear. It only appears as the folder and text separator, and in that case it appears where I don’t want it, immediately after the first page header!

What am I missing? Why does Scrivener not recognize its own folders? Why does it only understand separation between a text document and a folder when it’s a text document that follows a folder, not a folder that follows a text document?

Any suggestions?

Not sure why you aren’t getting separators where you expect, but maybe the Formatting pane is a better location? Instead of the typical Chapter <$n> prefix, you could put a centered ### when the compile process encounters a folder.

I’m afraid I’m not sure what you mean. In the formatting pane, I see a check box for override text and notes formatting, then places to check off title, meta-data, synopsis, notes, and text. Are you suggesting I should add a title or notes? I haven’t worked with Scrivener much yet, so I’m not sure how some of these things work. I’m using the included short story template. Right now I’m adding text documents that only have the separator in them, and that feels ungainly and unpleasant.

Am I missing some essential point about how folders work? Is there only a separator between folders if the two folders are empty, and that’s the meaning of “adjacent folders”?

Also, is # # # the accepted format for a major scene break? I’ve been trying to find out how to do that in proper manuscript format. Don’t want to annoy an editor, after all. :slight_smile:

Thank you for your help!

What I’m talking about is a little bit deeper into the Compiler settings. When you select the folder row(s) in the Formatting pane, there should be some sample text in the text box below it. There’s a button labeled “Section Layout”, which pops open a new window with, among a few other settings, the Title Prefix and Suffix. Each of the text boxes in that section allows you to put something before or after (respectively) the title. In the prefix area, you could put three # marks, or whatever you like. Then when you close that window out, you can select the ### text and format it using the format bar just above the sample text display (centering them, setting the font size and which font face you want them to be in).

If that sounds too difficult, then I’d suggest that you take the output into a word processor once you’re close to completion, and finish the formatting there.

As for what’s standard, I couldn’t say. Go back to short stories by various authors & publishers and see what they do when scene breaks occur. Personally, I’ve never noticed different kinds of scene breaks in any form of writing, but that could be down to them being invisible to me as a reader, the same way that “she said” is barely noticeable when reading dialogue.

Thank you very much! It wouldn’t be too difficult to do that, it just seems strange to me that it would be necessary in a program which is meant to make the writing process easier and more fluid than Word. But in any case, when implementing your suggestion for the section break (# # # rather than * * *), suddenly one of the separators decided to work! The folder separator still does nothing, but the folder and text separator puts the hash marks precisely where I want them. I guess it’s another of the idiosyncrasies of this program: it only likes hash marks as separators. I still don’t understand why the folder separator does nothing, but maybe that will become clear in time.

As for the different types of section breaks, “What are you talking about?” has been the standard response every time I’ve asked. But I’ve been seeing multiple types of section break in published fiction all my life. The three asterisks are somewhere between the pause indicated by a blank line and a full chapter break, and are useful in short fiction which has no separate chapters – the difference between, “Later that afternoon…” and, “Meanwhile, in Kathmandu…”

I thought it might be a genre thing, since I write (and read quite a lot of) science fiction, but one of the people baffled by this question was a science fiction author who has a blog about proper manuscript formatting. So I’ll go with the three hash marks and hope that editors who publish stories with both types of section break won’t be confused. :slight_smile: