HELP! How to size chapters?

I’m currently using the Beta Six of Scrivener for Windows and I love it, with some caveats. I’ve got two main problems with Scrivener that limits its functionality.

Problem #1: Synopsis. The synopsis window is very limited. What we really need is a full editor window for synopses that will allow us to write fully formatted outlines of our stories. We should be able to use any of the editing tools available for an actual chapter. However, we need to indicate that the synopsis text is just that: a summary of the story. The synopsis should be compiled separately from any other text.

Problem #2: Word count. Scrivener is an excellent OUTLINER and structural planner. When writing a story, the author needs a way to determine the word count, per chapter. Currently, the word count variable has only a global reference.

But what authors need is a word count by chapter. That way, we can break up and design our chapters for dramatic affect, length, suspense, etc. With an accurate chapter word count, we could size our chapters to the scenes that make up each chapter.

There are a couple of ways of doing this already - by setting an individual word count target for each chapter, and by setting the manuscript view to Outline.

The green bar at the bottom of the screen (in the bottom right hand corner) shows my word count for this particular chapter. I set a target for each chapter, and it fills in as I write.

And this is my manuscript’s Outline view, complete with word count bars.

Great info. Thanks!

As for the questions about the synopsis: you won’t be able to use all the text editing features (because underneath the hood, the synopsis is actually a plain text document, not RTF), but you can achieve the other requests easily enough.

  1. To get a full size (almost) window for editing the synopsis, right click on the document in the binder and choose Open > In Quick Reference Window. When the QR window appears, you’ll see a drop down box, from which you can choose Synopsis – drag the bar so that the actual editor is minimised and this will give you a much larger synopsis area than you get in the Inspector.

  2. You can compile just the synopses for your project – have a look at the inbuilt compilation formats “Outline”, “Enumerated Outline” and “Indented Outline” to see if they do what you want (they all print the synopses) If they’re not exactly right, you can amend them to fit your needs.

Finally, have you considered using Notes for your detailed outlines? Synopses are usually for the short, pithy, one or two paragraph summary of a scene or chapter – you’ve probably noticed that the synopsis text is exactly the same as the text on the front of the cork board cards, which gives you a rough idea of the length envisaged. They can be as long as you like of course, but they lose some flexibility if they’re too long. Notes, on the other hand, can be styled text (they’re RTF documents under the hood) and can also be compiled separately.