New, baffled and unhappy

I am new to Scrivener, having got it as a birthday gift. I downloaded the paid version, tried my hand with the tutorial, felt deflated and ended up Purchasing two books on Scrivener.

The problem came with importing my WIP, a fantasy novel, from word. The first three chapters came into Scrivener indented and with no space for new paragraph. That was fine. Beginning with chapter four and through chapter forty-nine, however, it switched to no intents but a space between paragraphs.. I was not happy, but I figured by the time I finished my novel (perhaps 10 more chapters) I would be knowledgeable enough with Scrivener to be able to make everything consistent.

Then the fun began! Chapter fifty was the first chapter I started on Scrivener. It began with indents for new paragraph and a space between paragraphs. Also, I no longer had “straight quotes” which I had always had and there were weird spacings between words. It was all very distracting to my writing.

I tried Format> Convert> Quotes to Straight Quotes, but it only changes the ones I had highlighted before making the change. When I start the next quote, it has again reverted to regular quotes. I can’t do anything about the spacings between words. The only thing I was able to do was manually move the ruler to zero to remove the indent. The problem is I then have to manually put the extra space after the new paragraph.

I guess my overall general complaint is “why does Scrivener have to turn a natural learning curve into a learning cliff?” I don’t have time to write and scale that cliff of difficulties every single day. Please give me some hope that I can make the basic changes in my formatting simply by finding the right screen where I can then push the right button. I need help!!!

It shouldn’t actually matter how your writing looks inside scrivener… You override all of this on compile, font, spacing, indents all are rationalised at compile time

David hewsons book on scrivener is very good

Hi, JaySquires. I’m also new to Scrivener but you might try changing the setting for smart quotes in Tools|Options|Corrections, Substitutions pane. Whatever you select at the “Use smart quotes” combo box will be what gets inserted into your text when typing the quote character.

Hope this helps!

[size=85]PS: I think I understand you eagerness. I also just want to write and not get distracted with learning the tool. :wink: But I guess it’s inevitable. From time to time a question will pop up and may make you feel stuck. But the Forum is a valuable tool for that![/size]


I would back up and try a new export-import of your WIP.
This time, when in Word, ask for an RTF (Rich Text Format) export.
Then import that file into Scrivener, either by the Import command or Drag-n-Drop.

See if that version isn’t a better approximation of what you want.
Possibly you will lose the Word codes that are creating trouble.

Good luck!

Thank you Naquadq, r6d2 and druid. All good suggestions. I’m gonna race back and try them all. And, yes, Naquadq, his was one of the books I bought! It is so great to have people anxious to help give support. Yep, I think I’ll stay a while.

As r6d2 suggested, you can disable smart quotes in the Corrections tab of Tools > Options. Just deselect that checkbox entirely to use straight quotes. You’ll also have the option to compile using straight quotes even if you have used smart quotes when writing in Scrivener, so you may want to select that too, for any of the previous smart quotes that you may have missed on conversion. (The setting in Corrections will prevent new quotes you type from switching, but it won’t change existing ones.) You can convert existing quotes per binder document with menu option you found under Format > Options; just don’t have a text selection and it will apply to the complete document.

For the rest of the formatting, open Tools > Options and in the Editor tab, use the format bar and ruler to set up the sample text the way you want it. The blue A button on the left of the format bar opens the font options. Click OK to apply the changes and close the Options. Your new defaults will apply to all new documents you create (in any project); to change existing documents to match, select them in the binder (Ctrl- or Shift-click to select multiple) and then choose Documents > Convert > Formatting to Default Text Style. Character formatting like bold and italic will be retained, and you’ll get some additional options if you want to refine what will be affected in the conversion. This way you can quickly reformat all your imported work to use the same settings as your new texts, even if you’re going to use something else again when you compile.

Jennifer, thank you for adding your expertise to the assistance I got from the others. It is so heartening to see how much effort you put into your specific advice. I’ll be able (thanks to you) to print your instructions out, lay them on the table while I go through them, step by step. You are so awesome!