Handling of Document Notes/Project Notes

[size=50]Not intended to spam the forums - I have my first franchise book contract and am setting up for the long haul… My comments are based on having completed my two novels-being-shopped-by-agent using Scrivener. Am a top-down writer, so outlining features are critical to me.[/size]

The following would be very useful (to me, at least) and would seem to follow the logic of the way Scrivener works:

  • Option to make Document Notes visible in the Outline.
  • Option to have Inspector remember display choices between selections, i.e. so I can always have Project Notes visible if required.
  • Project Notes available in Binder so they can be opened in Editor.

(Background: I like to write scenes from beat-by-beat synopses. For example:

For me this is a very rapid and spontaneous way of working, e.g. I completed my 65K YA novel in 200 “bic” hours from idea to agent-acceptable draft.

Unfortunately, Scrivener doesn’t quite support this because I need to be able to see the Scene Synopsis while I draft the text. At the moment, I achieve this by pasting it into the Document Notes, which is clunky and error prone.

For Scrivener to fully support this way of working, it would need to either add more space for the Synopsis in Inspector, or make the Document Notes available in Outline. As I understand it, there are technical reasons why Inspector can’t be tinkered with. That leaves tweaks to Document Notes, hence taking the time to make this suggestion.)

This isn’t really possible technically and it would be undesirable anyway. Technically, document notes are rich text, may contain bullets, images and tables, and there is no way to represent all of that in the outliner. Practically, notes may be long - they would be too unwieldy for the outliner. Instead, have the inspector open on the right, and your notes are easily visible whenever you select something in the outline. But the notes themselves definitely don’t belong in the outliner.

Unless I misunderstand you, then this sounds like a bug in the Windows version. If you have project notes visible in the inspector and switch documents, the project notes should still be visible in the inspector. (Jennifer, if you are reading, is this a known bug?)

This would be confusing. There’s nothing to stop you having notes that you keep in the binder, though. If you want notes in the main editor, then just create a “Notes” folder in the binder for them.

Thanks for explaining why you are finding things difficult - that helps. Can’t you just have a brief synopsis in the index card and the beat-by-beat breakdown in the notes? Or have the outliner visible in the other editor instead of the inspector?

Or, what about just widening the inspector, or choosing a smaller font for the synopses? On my 11" MacBook Air (I know you’re on Windows), the beat synopsis you gave as an example fits comfortably in the index card of the inspector, with room to spare, even when the inspector isn’t at full width. I’ll have to fire up the Windows machine to see if the text takes up more space in the card there.

All the best,
Keith

Thanks for engaging with this!

I’ve just upgraded to a 27 inch monitor, so that’s my new solution. It creates a lot of wasted space in the Inspector, but it’ll do I guess. Not such a good solution on the laptop or on my original 17 inch monitor.

Smaller font is, alas, not ideal for some of us over 40. :frowning:

I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work so well because… well, you have to imagine the way I outline as like iterating through variations of the pub narrative version. One of the attractions of Scrivener is being able to craft the whole story at one go.

Have also been tinkering with this. This kind of works, but means sacrificing a window where I would want to see things like research documents and cast list. These can go in the Project Notes, but that can be cramped. (Now if you were to merge the Binder with the Outliner…, or let Scrivener show more than 2 panes…)

I suppose none of this is a show stopper. However, if Scriverner had just a little more wiggle room, then it would be perfect. (For me.)

Perhaps you could have the document outline in the Research folder and then access it via QuickReference?

What if you split the editor, and use the corkboard view in one? You can alter the size & shape of the index cards, and use the double-arrow in the footer of that editor to make the associated document open in the other split.

I stumbled onto this approach accidentally, while working on lengthy book chapters with complicated sequences of scenes. I was forever forgetting who done what to whom and why and who was fixing to get what done to them, and ended up writing with a corkboard view in the left pane opened just wide enough to give me an uncut vertical line of synopsis cards, with the right pane spread as wide as it would go. I could make everything instantly simple and go straight into compose mode (where the Notes pane sidebar stays open) when I was writing, and then back into normal view as “organizing” replaced “writing,” on and on.

I liked this layout so much I now use it for everything from planning and editing the magazine to writing dejection letters, with a corkboard of all the recent submissions in one pane and the pertinent letter(s) in the other.

Slicker than a cup of custard.

This should work; at any rate, I just tested in 1.5.0.8 and it’s working there, so if it’s broken in 1.2.5 it’s fixed for the next update. There is a bug whereby the inspector resets to the document notes view after closing and reopening a project, and that’s logged–that might have been the problem discussed here?

EDIT: I think this is related to the bug mentioned above, but it is possible to have project notes open, then switch to another tab in the inspector, then switch to another document and when switching back to the notes tab, have document notes appear instead of project notes. It’s logged as a bug.

I’m not sure where you ended with this, or if this is addressing the problem as it stands (since it seems like things are a little in flux regarding what’s visible in the synopsis, project notes, or research docs in the editor), but I wanted to point out that it’s possible to collapse the synopsis and meta-data sections of the inspector so the entire thing is just document or project notes. You can then widen the inspector to essentially act like a third editor pane showing the notes.

Thanks for checking and making sure it’s on the list to fix, Jennifer!