Formatting and Compiling

I really hope this is the right place for this question. I’m 7 chapters into a novel where one of the main characters has flashbacks. My intent for the flashbacks was to show them in italics, but have the margin on both left and right sides to be slightly wider (so the text would be narrower than surrounding text) in order to differentiate for the reader the difference between the character’s thought process (also in italics) and the flashback. In the editor, it looks fine. In a print preview, however, the margin on the right is the same as text that’s not a flashback (only the left margin is increased).

I posed this question on a Scrivener users group on Facebook, and got some feedback. I’ve now got my flashback set up as a preset under formatting. But, even then, I was told that, even clicking on the “preserve formatting” button, Kindle would fail to recognize my formatting as it converts everything to straight on justification. Okay, cool. So I added the ~ symbol both before and after the text of the flashback, just a little visual to clue the reader in that this is different than thought.

When I compile this to a .pdf or to an .ePub to test it with either the pdf reader on my laptop or the Nook on my phone, again I have issues. In the .pdf version, the flashback text runs right off the right side of the page. In the .ePub, it’s just “normal” like I assume it would be in the Kindle version (from what I was told). I’m just learning how to do screen shots, so I hope this works. The first will be of my formatted text in the editor.

The second should be of the “formatting” tab in the “compile” window.

I’m happy with the way this looks in the editor, although for the print version I’d like to get the right hand margin to be a little wider for the flashbacks. But is there any way to accomplish this, and how? And can I do it in the e-formats?

This is doable. You can even adjust the indentation the way you want for ebooks (including Kindle), but you’ll need to do a little tweaking outside of Scrivener to make that work. The Kindle’s justification doesn’t affect the indentation; Scrivener is just currently limited with the HTML writer we have so that ebook output doesn’t currently support set right or left indents. Using an epub editor like Sigil, you can adjust the indentation after compiling from Scrivener, and then you can run the resaved epub through KindleGen or open it in Amazon’s Kindle Previewer to generate the Kindle-formatted file.

This post explains how you can use a simple formatting hook in Scrivener to quickly adjust the indentation for your specific sections in Sigil.

PDF compile will respect your set indents, so the problem here is that you’ve set the right indent too far to the right, and when compiled with your current paper size and margin settings, the indent is wider than the margin. In Scrivener’s editor, the 0 mark on the ruler starts at the inside edge of the left margin, so you’ll need to calculate where you need the right indent based on your Page Settings in Compile. If you have an 8.5in x 11in page size and 1in margins all around, then 6.5in on your editor ruler will be the inside edge of the right margin, and anything beyond that is going to overrun the margin. If you want to indent your flashbacks an inch from either margin, you’d want to set the left indent at 1in and then your right margin at 5.5inches.