Newbie Help Compiling

I’m writing a non-fiction book and used Scrivener for it’s organizational advantages.
I created a folder (book icon) called Narrative and have approximately 45 text documents (which contain photos) in the Narrative.
I compiled each document, thinking each represented a chapter, so the text and included photos fit well on pages, with page breaks appropriately placed to force the desired look.

I then chose all the documents in the compile window (instead of one at a time), expecting the large result to flow as did my individually compiled chapters. Instead I get “#” between each document where I expect a page break. This destroys the flow I achieved by compiling each document (chapter).

I’ve tried to use trial and error in the compile window, to understand the formats and section layouts, but it’s unproductive and not producing the desired result.

At this stage I’m looking for a PDF output to share with others for initial feedback. I’d rather it read as a finished book than a double spaced proof copy.

Any advice greatly appreciated. I haven’t found the user manual terrible helpful.

Well first of all it sounds like you have selected a Format (in the left sidebar of the compiler) with a heavily stylised approach, or intent toward a specification. The insertion of a single hashmark between sections and double-spaced text, for example, sounds an awful lot like you’re using a submission quality manuscript format—not at all what you describing wanting to do! You might want to go through the section on compiling in the interactive tutorial (help menu). Selecting a format and how to use section layouts is all gone over in detail so you needn’t use this trial and error method you speak of.

Secondly, most project templates assume that you are grouping sections of text into folders—the folders of which are chapters (the way the example starter structure was in the Draft folder, if you recall). A hashmark is a way of denoting formal subsections within a chapter. You should probably go through the help text provided at the top of the template you used, for advice on switching to a way of working where each text item is an entire chapter all by itself, if the tutorial itself doesn’t help.

Ultimately, “Default” is probably your best bet, as it doesn’t really do much to the content and leaves things how you typed them into the editor.

One last thing: you may find it more frustrating than it is worth it, trying to use Scrivener like a WYSIWYG program as you describe. It’s not impossible, but it’s certainly not its design intent, as you’ve discovered! It was never meant to replace desktop publishing or even word processors—but rather to fill in a gap that none of those kinds of tools address with any grace: the writing itself.

I’ve found Scrivener superior to say, using Word, for organization and writing.

And I thought my project was so simple, that it would be brain dead easy to output a PDF, esp with the individual files already formatted to produce the desired page work flow.

But there is so much power in the program, it is suddenly overwhelming just to get the PDF out. I hate to have to revert to giving a reader 45 separate PDFs to represent each chapter, but the suggestions you made in your reply just haven’t helped. I tried reading the manual and it’s simply too much overhead for what should be so simple. I went back to trial and error using some of the suggestions you made to try and see what happened, but got nowhere fast.

Any other thoughts?

Have you done the interactive tutorial?

It’s fairly easy to do, but you need to start with choosing the right compile format for your needs. Which one did you start with?

When you bring up the compile window, what section types are your documents set to?

When you clicked Assign Section Layouts, which layout did you assign to the afore-mentioned section type?

Section types let you mark folders or documents as “this is a _____”, so for maximum clarity, you should make sure your chapter documents all show up as “chapter” if that’s an option. Though “text” or any other section type works just as well, it just needs to be clear to you that “my chapter documents are section type X”.

Section layouts are where you choose what a section type X is going to look like, broadly speaking. There usually are section types that they will insert a page break, add “Chapter One” above the document’s title, and then include the text after that.

Your ### separators may be either because you have blank lines in your chapters (to separate scenes?) or the default section format being applied assumes your “chapter” files are scene files in one very long chapter.

This kind of thing is explained in the interactive tutorial project (under “get it out there”), available under Help.

Your post suggestions finally got me to a point where I’m finally getting what I need.
Thanks so much!