I'm in a hole, but can I stop digging?

I’m afraid I just dived into Scrivener having just seen the opening video and as a result I’m having some problems. I’ve since taken Keith’s advice and read the tutorial, but I’m afraid I’d already done quite a bit of work that I’m not really sure how to re-arrange into a useful Scrivener project.

Earlier today I urgently needed some way to graphically outline a project and, having downloaded a Scrivener trial, went immediately to the corkboard view and intuitively produced about 60 or so cards with titles and synopses. So far so good. But now I’m stuck.

To be honest, even though I’ve read the tutorial I’m still having difficulties getting my head around the document options. I’m not writing a screenplay - just working on a draft of a documentary. The index cards text will eventually be expanded into a ‘script’ - something that includes ‘narration’ and storyline. Eventually as I edit down videotaped interview content the ‘storyline’ will consist of sections of transcribed interviews and references to other visual content such as archive and modern footage and rostrum images (or Ken Burns’ effect stills, as our American colleagues seem to call them).

My immediate problem is that, although I’ve created these index cards and can view them in Index Card and Outline view, I can’t seem to print them to a document. Even worse, when I do ‘File/Print Current Document’ and check ‘Preview’ I get what is obviously part of the original tutorial text that must have been in Scrivener when I began my Corkboard synopsis.

When I toggle the Outliner on and off I see the same tutorial text alternating with my Index card synopsis. The contents of the doc begin with "Screenplay Format
See the “Screenplay Format” PDF file in the Research folder
for an example of how this project template can be used to
generate a formatted screenplay.
This template works as follows: … "

My ‘Binder’ pane begins with an icon of some vertical pages with my project name to the right of it. If I expand it I see all of the index card titles I created. Below that icon are ‘Screenplay’ ,‘Research’, and ‘Trash’. I seem to remember I chose the ‘Screenplay’ template because I couldn’t find anything nearer to the ‘Documentary’ option I was looking for (I’ve since posted a request for such a template, but it appears there isn’t one so far).

Apologies for this long-winded explanation, but it’s the best I can do at this stage. I normally produce my documentary outline or draft stage of my work in table form using Apple’s Pages, usually with about 5 columns dealing with Video, Audio, Music, Notes, Timecode etc. Scrivener seems to be a fantastic application and I’m already convinced that once I’m over this learning curve I’ll be able to adapt it to my needs. But right now I just need a way to move on from my current roadblock.

To summarise - how do I print out my Corkboard or Outline text? Can I safely delete the stray ‘Screenplay Format’ text? What’s the best way now (given my ill-advised start) to expand on the outline I’ve done in Scrivener to create a longer, more detailed ‘script’?

Think of each index card as a sheet of BLANK paper. The “note” you write on the index card is for a quick reference of the actual DOCUMENT/FOLDER the index card represents. But it sounds like your documents are still “blank”

Your solution?

Click on a note card.

Select ALL (⌘+a)
Copy (⌘+c)

Now look in the binder on the left side. Find the file with the same name as the title of the note card. Click on the file in the binder. The editor window should now be white and BLANK.

Paste (⌘+v) the information from the corresponding card.

Rinse and repeat.


In the future think of each index card as the TITLE of a document (say a scene) the information on the card is a quick NOTE for you to easily recognize what is CONTAINED in the document.

Now you will actually WRITE in the document (file) by clicking on the file in the binder on left and start typing etc.

Each “scene” or script can be a single document or many scripts can be contained in a FOLDER.

Lets say the first 20 minutes of your video is going to have 7 scripts dealing with a subject on Stanely Sprocket.

In the Binder create a NEW FOLDER and name it STANLEY SPROCKET
Then Create 7 BLANK documents (Add New Text). Name them Scene 1 Scene 2, etc.

Ok now highlight your Folder STANLEY SPROCKET and click Corkboard and now you will see 7 Index cards representing each scene (scenes 1-7)

Now click on a scene in the binder on left. Say scene 1

Type a quick note maybe some ideas.
Now click on the word INSPECTOR in the upper tool bar to make sure the inspector window is OPEN.
Below the word INSPECTOR you will see the word SYNOPSIS.

Directly to the RIGHT of that word is a little icon (Auto SYNOPSIS) click it and now your index card will now have that text input into the card. If you have text highlighted it will use the highlighted text. If you have noting highlighted it will use the first few sentences that you typed on your DOCUMENTS.

Right now you have INDEX CARDS with synopsis written out but the DOCUMENTS these cards represent are actually BLANK.

If this makes any sense?

That was really useful Wock!

I did as you suggested and managed to get a printout of my cards’ content. I had a slight problem at first. It would not show or print anything when I selected ‘Compile Screenplay’. My Binder had my Index Cards in a separate project folder above the ‘Screenplay’ one. And the ‘Compile’ option seemed only to have ‘Screenplay’ as an folder to be selected. So I just ‘moved’ my project folder into the ‘Screenplay’ folder and all of the cards were seen and I could print them.

I also had a go at your ‘Stanley Sprocket’ suggestion and it really did help me get a handle on how to use Scrivener. In that case I just didn’t select a template for the new project and my binder showed ‘Draft’ for the folder name. I just renamed it to ‘Stanley Sprocket’ and familiarised myself with the options you suggested. It seems I worked in reverse order yesterday - creating the Index Card text first and then trying to get back to the source documents. Maybe it could be an option that if one works that way it would be possible to ‘reverse engineer’ the source documents instead of having to manually ‘cut and paste’ as I’ve had to do.

Anyway I really appreciate you taking the time to read my long-winded description of my difficulties and thanks for such clear explanations and advice.

Glad to be of some help and Welcome to the Scrivener Community! :slight_smile:

The Draft folder is where your ms lives; it can be renamed (as in the Screenplay template), but only that folder (and its subfolders) can be used when Compiling.

There’s no option to import the index card synopsis text to the main body, as you observe. I suspect that’s because there’s a danger that to do so it would have to completely replace any existing text in the document itself, and that could lead to many users hitting it by accident and losing their work.

There’s nothing wrong with working on index cards first - that’s kind of the point of having the index card metaphor - but just use them for a synopsis of what you’re going to write in the actual document “attached to” the card. Then, when you have the document itself open in the editor, the Inspector pane will show the synopsis for that document, so you can always refer to it. And as has already been pointed out, the split window is perfect for showing all your index cards on one side, and working on the body text in the other.

You may also want to experiment with Edit Scrivenings and Lock In Place; once you’ve done your index cards, select their parent folder, select Edit Scrivenings to show the body text for every card in a continuous editor, then hit Lock In Place to make sure it stays that way. You can then move through your documents, and view the synopsis for each in the Inspector, without losing the combined view in the editor.