I have grown disillusioned with working with rich text for my fiction, and am looking for a solution that will allow me to easily write in plain text and export to various formats. I remembered Scrivener supported MultiMarkdown and had a very deep export flow, so I figured I’d give Scrivener 2 another try.
What I’d like to do is write Markdown in Scrivener (and use the Dropbox sync to allow me to write on other devices…amazingly cool feature, that), then use File > Compile to export a formatted PDF, RTF, ebook, or what-have-you. Is this possible? So far I haven’t found any way to get Scrivener to work for that, suggesting to me that I would need to export MultiMarkdown from Scrivener, and then go about converting it to whatever other format I wanted in additional steps.
I tried Ulysses, but it doesn’t have nearly as nice (or powerful) an export flow even though it supports semantic text editing, and frankly the app’s GUI drives me nuts.
In the compile menu there are a few options you can choose that will go straight to RTF, HTML, and LaTeX. If you want to do anything beyond that though, yes you’ll want to use the plain MMD option and then either use the command line or Fletcher’s new MultiMarkdown Composer application which has a bunch of handy outputs built right in (and it is a nice MMD editor, too). In particular, it’ll export to .fodt which is a LibreOffice (free, based on OpenOffice) format, which is probably the best way to work with other word processor based users. The RTF format is a bit weak, but it gets the job done if your work is primarily prose, like most fiction. Just don’t expect footnotes and other fancy things. For PDF, most people use LaTeX to get there, but if you aren’t already familiar with LaTeX that’s a steep learning curve just to make a PDF. If I didn’t need anything fancy, I’d just print to PDF using one of the easier to use formats. LaTeX’s PDFs look fantastic, and they support a lot of features like cross-referencing, table of contents, and so on, but like I say that’s serious endeavour to learn. If you wish to give it a try, and gentler approach is to download LyX and learn that. Use it to open your compiled .tex files. It works quite a lot like a word processor, but can output LaTeX PDFs without requiring much/any knowledge of the underlying typesetting language.
E-books are still experimental I believe. There is a posting here but the workflow isn’t streamlined yet. That is something that we ourselves would like to optimise some time this year, either in conjunction with Fletcher’s work, or as our own system.
P.S. Nice to see you around again, it’s been a while!