newbie questions

I’m not really sure of the correct terminology to address my situation, and I sincerely hope I have this in the right area of the forum, Go easy on me please, I’m totally new.

I started my novel in Word, then bought Scrivener. The first five “chapters” I typed in word and copy/pasted them into “chapters” in Scrivener. Subsequently, I finished the rest of the book in Scrivener. The problem is that in those chapters that I copy/pasted, there are no indentations, as if they did not follow through into the new format. Is there a way to correct this within Scrivener, or would I be better off just manually indenting all of my paragraphs and dialogue in those bits that were initially pasted in?

Now, there is a reason that I have “chapters” in parenthesis, and that is because I am not really sure if they are considered chapters. It’s stupid and I did not rtfm of course. I was on a serious roll, and just kept hitting “add new text” and labeling each entry “chapter 1, chapter 2” and so on. Are these considered chapters now, in that they will follow through as a chapter when I got to transfer this into other formats or print it? Or will they all amount to one continuous wall of text?

I’m honestly terrified to experiment with much because I am 8 months and 120k words into this project, and although I am well backed up to Drop Box and my iPad, I still don’t want to screw anything up.

If someone could help me with these couple of questions I would certainly appreciate it. Also, if someone could recommend a good (free) tutorial or video that would help me, especially in the field of chapters and file management.

I am a panster all the way, so I do not even use all the research and binders and note cards. I just sit down and write so it seems like it should be pretty easy.

Thanks for any help!!

First of all — there’s no need to worry about messing things up. Just copy your project in Explorer (the whole folder) or File > Save As and work on the copy till you’re happy with what we’re going to do.

I’m presuming that what you found was that the five ‘copied’ chapters are now in the wrong format, but the ‘new’ chapters your created are fine?

If that’s right, it’s because Scrivener takes the format for new documents from the settings in Tools > Options > Editing (or Formatting) I’m on a Mac so the wording might be slightly different. The correct panel has a dummy text box in it. You format the text in that dummy text box using the icons in the normal way, then any new document for this and any other project will have that format.

But you can retrospectively apply that ‘default’ format to any document. All you need to do is highlight the five ‘copied’ chapters in the Binder then select Documents > Convert > Convert Text to Default Formatting (again the wording may be slightly different, but it’s obvious once you see it.). You’ll be asked a few questions about what you want to convert, but after that the five copied docs should have the ‘new’ format.

NB: this process is non-reversible, so test it first!

For your question about ‘Chapters’ - it doesn’t really matter because Scrivener lets you decide this sort of thing. Some people do as you have done and have a ‘flat’ structure: one Document in the binder for each Chapter. Others have Folders for each Chapter, each of which consists of a number of ‘child’ documents containing individual scenes. (The latter is the more common approach though.)

Both approaches have pros and cons: either will work very well for producing a novel in multiple formats during the compilation process.

But it’s a bit difficult to give you more advice with going into more detail about your understanding of the whole process and how your novel is set up.

Instead, I think the best thing you can do is to take a couple of hours out and do the Interactive Tutorial. You can find it on the Help menu, and it’s basically a Scrivener Project which walks you through the basics terms and thinking of the program, giving you a chance to try them out from a known set of circumstances.

It’s really very helpful and it’s designed precisely for people in your position, so I strongly recommend you do it before trying anything else. It will give you the tools you need to complete and compile your document quickly.

Once you’ve worked through the tutorial (a couple of hours at most), then we’ll be able to help with more specific queries you may have.

Hope this helps!

Thanks very much for your help!

I feel stupid. I spent a quarter hour looking for the Help Menu - on this site. Nope, I wasn’t blind lol.
When I get back to my office I will sit down and do the tutorial, now that I realized where it is!

Ha! Sorry – should have precise about which help menu.

You can also just start a new project — the tutorial is available from the New Projects dialogue box.

Thanks again for your help!!