Moving from dissertation to book

This is a request to hear how others are doing or have done such things.

I finished my dissertation in the social sciences about a year ago, and as those who have done such things know, it’s a complete “work” in that it’s a draft (one hopes penultimate) of a book. I produced that document outside of Scrivener, writing each chapter as a separate LaTeX file, all of which were then included in a master document to create the final document.

I didn’t use anything like DevonThink or such to put all the documents and other bits of research together. I think (the memories have been largely blocked :wink: ) I basically used paper files, going through each one to glean what I needed, writing that into chapter drafts, and revising that into the evolving draft or commenting it out as it proved less relevant (but I didn’t want to get rid of it entirely).

To revise the work, I’d like to bring everything into Scrivener. Has anyone done this sort of thing before, taking a fairly coherent draft of a work and bringing it into Scrivener? How did you manage it?

In addition, how did you manage the research side of the transfer process? What did you “bring over”? How did you organize that research information?

Any other suggestions?

One idea–an idea I have toyed with (I’m in a similar situation), which is perhaps a bit more of the way many old-school manuscripts came together–is to simply import the master PDF and use that document in the split screen mode and go along literally re-writing (re-keying and also revising). You might of course end up with an even bigger mess that way, but it still might be worth exploring.

My problem is similarly complicated–some of the chapters have been re-worked by themselves for talks and articles, a couple of new chapters have grown out of the original project (but they repeat, recycle, reiterate almost word for word) some material from other chapters. A mess, really. I’m going back to it over the summer to try to get it together enough to think about sending the prospectus–testing the waters, at least–this fall.

Best of luck!