Need Editing Workflow Help

I have a fairly large document (75,000 words) in Scrivener, that is ready to go to my external editor.

However, my editor is a non-Mac user, who also doesn’t have Scrivener. She’s a professional editor, and will work with the manuscript in Word for Windows.

In my own redlines, I’ve exported to pdf, marked it up in GoodReader on my iPad, and then applied the changes to the Scrivener document. However, she will be using marked changes and not redlined pdf as she is doing my technical editing.

How do I important her mark-ups back into Scrivener in the most expeditious manner possible and join them with my extant draft? These seems like a key use-case. Obviously, the editor is a pro and can save in rtf or whatever portable format is required.

I’d like to go to press using compilation through Scrivener if at all possible. This is a short test project to get my workflow ironed out, and I have several pieces that are nearly 200k that are ready for editing, breaking the text up again after editing will be quite a burden.

One question I would have is how long your sections are in the Binder outline itself. Do you tend to work in chapter length files? If so, maybe see if your editor is willing to work in RTF files of that length, and if they are, that would leave the File/Sync/with External Folder option available to you. With that tool you can spam out all of the files of your Draft (or just parts of it) as RTF to a folder, and Scrivener will monitor it for changes. Changes files are seamlessly imported back into the project, with a snapshot by default.

Now one thing you would want to be careful with, for that, is track changes. You’ll need to accept/reject all of the changes in Word, so that they become normal text, before bringing stuff back into Scrivener. Since Scrivener doesn’t support track changes anyway, it would make sense to have a phase where you review them with Word, and then run sync in your project. I should mention that Word’s margin comments will appear in Scrivener as sidebar Comments (and vice versa).

Now, all you have to do is share a Dropbox (or whatever) folder with your editor and sync to that location.

But, if the files are too small for that method to be accessible for someone working with a folder of files, you’ll need to copy and paste the changes back into your Binder by hand, or just import it and chop it up again, and use that as the master outline. Whether to use the former or latter approach would depend largely on how many organisation features you use in Scrivener. For one like myself, I use a lot of labels, keywords and hundreds of cross-references as hyperlinks and References between sections. My outline is very important to the project—so wiping out the Draft and replacing it with a brand new copy would be an unacceptable loss of organisational data. Thus, for me, taking the time to copy and paste the updates back into the Draft, bit by bit, is worth the effort.

On the other hand, there are many who use hardly any of these features and just type into an outline—no index cards or document notes or anything. In that case, importing and chopping up the edited .doc is a perfectly acceptable approach.

That’s couple of options. You might want to search around on the forum a bit here, particularly in the usage and tips sections. As you can imagine, it’s a topic that comes up now and then. :slight_smile:

I use nesting in the Binder for subsections, unfortunately. however, it is just an outline, so I can export it and then chop it back up on re-import.

I can certainly work around it. If necessary, I have a spare Mac laptop, with Scriv on it, that is already pointed at my dropbox where the scriv file for the book lives. I can just snapshot and give my editor the comp and let her edit. Luckily I’ve known her for 20 years and live in the same city, so lending her my thousand dollar laptop with my calendars, email, etc connected to it isn’t an exercise in extreme trust.

But wow what a ghastly failure to anticipate commercial workflow realities! Seems like a bit of a showstopper unless you’re the Lone Ranger writing Ravished By The Pterodactyl for Kindle, or else on the other side of things and submitting to a conventional publisher where the m.s. goes into Word so it can get into their editing and production workflow, and you totally disengage except maybe reviewing galleys or whatever.

It’s a shame, I’m totally in love with the compositional environment, it’s really second to none. It got me manageable pdf drafts of a snarled project that I’d been grappling with for years. The lack of integration of functional import-export to provide m.s.s to editors is really an amazing oversight.

If it seems weird I would get to this point, consider everything else about the application is so by-pros-for-pros, and oriented around nose-to-tail functionality. I hope the matter is addressed soon!

Well, that is why a lot of people transition to Word (or some other format, like InDesign, DocBook or LaTeX) during the final phases of the project. The software was never really designed to go any further than a “first draft”. Over the years it has evolved, and become more capable of generating useful end outputs, self-publishers like these features, but for the rest, it’s mainly the sync options, which becomes personal and situational choice, whether editing can be done in the Scrivener phase of the project, or if it needs to be moved to the Word phase. Eventually, if you’re in conventional publishing, sciences, etc. etc., that’s where you are going to be—it’s just a matter of when.

The few tools and methods I mentioned above can help some authors extend Scrivener into the editing phase. If for example you were the type that writes 25 chapters as 25 files, then using the folder sync feature might be perfect. But we don’t really have a solution for people that work differently from that (or are working with people unwilling to edit in smaller chunks), meaning they’ll have to transition earlier.

It’s a bit of a technical problem, if you’re curious. There just isn’t a good way to compile a document to a normal editor/collaborator-friendly Word compatible format, that can also be “smart” enough to tell Scrivener where the individual pieces should come back to, within the project. With the external sync feature, we can do that in the file name. Part of the file name is a code that links that RTF file back to a particular piece of your outline. Placing an invisible code into your document to mark these barriers would be very risky. What if your editor accidentally deletes or moves them? You might think of a visible solution then—something in the text, but this is risky as well. You have to carefully explain to everyone working with the document that these markers absolutely must not be altered, and if sections are moved you have to be careful to move the associated marker with it… etc. You can see the problem with that idea, I’m sure. :slight_smile:

So to have some output that is editor friendly and works with Scrivener in terms of seamless synchronisation, is probably not possible with today’s technology, the way it is. Maybe we’ll think of something, but so far nothing really solid has come out of these ruminations.

Well thank you for that, and like I say that’s really where the focus of this software is. It’s on the composition, research and internal editing phase of a project. That’s where the huge majority of development time and thought goes into. The design intent of Scrivener is based on the concept that because the creative writing phase is most often the majority of any writing project, in terms of time—having a comfortable creative writing environment is thus important. What one does with the project after that point is up to their own personal needs, and maybe even that particular project.

My workflow was to import the edited text (separate files for each chapter) into the research folder, then edit each chapter in Scrivenings mode (so I could maintain my internal document structure within each chapter but still edit it as if it were a single document) with the edited chapter in a split window. The only issue I had was that my editors used track changes in Word, so I had to highlight all their changes in Word first and change their colour for easy recognition in Scivener. After that, easy.

From memory, some people have taken a snapshot of their manuscript, then imported the edited files into Scrivener and then compared the new text to the snapshot. A search of the forum with related terms should turn up what they did (or at least what they suggested).

When I’ve run into this situation, my approach has been to import the edited document into its own folder as a second copy of the draft, rather than trying to slot the pieces back into the original outline.

Generally, by the time I get to the editing stage, the original outline isn’t all that important anyway. Moreover, often the editing stage will involve moving large chunks around, and keeping the original manuscript intact makes it easy to compare the “before” and “after” versions.

Some of the difference in approaches is philosophical, too. When I get a manuscript with tracked changes, I tend to immediately accept all the changes and go from there because that lets me see the second draft with fresh eyes instead of fretting about how it was before. YMMV.

Remember that Scrivener does have a Windows version. So if she’s willing to try working directly with the Scrivener project it’s just a matter of downloading the trial version to her system, no need to lend her yours.