'One-click' collation of synopsis metadata

I have been working both in textual and index card format while putting together a series of scenes to outline a fairly involved section of my main plot. Whereas I find index cards perfect for pushing around to change the order of things and jotting down rudimentary outlines on, when it comes to refining the outline as a whole I like to use a single text document.

The method I’ve been using is the ‘Compile Manuscript…’ approach, whereby I compile with just the synopsis entries checked in the settings box. This does indeed give me an RTF of all the synopsis. I then find myself editing the RTF to clean it up a bit & refine the synopses in context after which I then manually cut ‘n’ paste the ‘refined’ synopses back to individual index cards. Often followed by further ‘pushing around’ joy :wink:

I was wondering how feasible it would be to have a more integrated function in Scrivener which can easily move synopsis texts between index cards and a standalone document, or perhaps an ‘Edit Scrivenings’ version of the synopses themselves? (like a printable ‘text of synopsis only’ view of the Outliner).

No biggie, was just a thought as I couldn’t find a better way. Maybe it’s just me needing to learn to use the Outliner more effectively - I know I would if it was able to print it. Sometimes I do prefer the ‘blankness’ of a conventional page for some things without the distraction of titles, status etc. and printing this out also lends itself to pen-based scrawling-on when not near a computer.

Please don’t take this as a ‘pester Keith for this’ request - I’m quite happy and my gruffometer is at zero. I just was wondering about streamlining things a little bit. From the hints I’ve seen of 2.0 perhaps that’ll provide much of what I’m asking about already :slight_smile:


Hi, Eddy–

Two thoughts on this:

  1. Scrivener 2.0 will have a pre-set compile option for outline, which I imagine as a marginally fancier (and faster) version of setting it all up yourself the way you’re talking about in 1.54. Key thing is probably that it adds numbers, which you may or may not care about. Presumably if you didn’t want a numbered outline, you could just set your own compile formatting and get it to look similar to how you have it working now. But I don’t see how this would help you much to expedite the process; it seems basically what you’re already doing, and it wouldn’t have any effect going back from the single document into the index cards.

The only way I can think of (not knowing if there’s some different 2.0 way for this) is to basically remake all your documents by using the split feature and then auto-generate synopsis. Theoretically if you have keyboard shortcuts for each of those it will speed up the process slightly, but since you have to auto-generate for each individual document it’s not a one-shot thing. Also you’d have to watch out for long synopses that are over the cut-off amount (you could add select-all to the process to take care of that but then it’s just one more step) and if you’ve already applied any other notes or meta-data to your original documents than this wouldn’t help at all.

  1. Right, really I’d just use Outliner for this–printing it if working off the computer, as you do in the first case, and then just typing up my notes in Outliner back in Scrivener. You can set up Outliner to just display the title and synopsis (or just synopsis if that’s really all you want) and then have to. It’s basically exactly Edit Scrivenings for synopses. Is there something particular about the Outliner set up that isn’t working for you?

My procrastinating two cents,


Another thing to point out is that the Outliner will look like this:

…as posted in this blog entry. Note that as with the current Outliner, you could remove the extra columns and work strictly in titles and synopsis in this stacked form like that, giving you what amounts to an Edit Scrivenings for synopsis.

You’ll also be able to print the Outliner (and the Corkboard for that matter) with a set of very flexible options, so that might be appealing to you as well, though personally I’d just rather edit right in the Outliner and have my changes instantly made.

As for getting stuff from the synopsis into the main text—why not just use Edit Scrivenings? I guess I don’t understand what the appeal is for working in the synopsis for a rough cut and then trying to go the opposite way with it into the main text. The index card aesthetic? Might be able to accommodate that with the new Page Layout view, which can be set up with custom paper sizes. It won’t be index cards, but it will be small white squares with a drop shadow. :slight_smile:

Aha, well that’s 75% of my request answered right there :slight_smile:

Oh, maybe I’m not understanding this right. I wanted to get stuff from the synopses into a single document for editing (although this is as much because I wanted to print the synopses en-masse as much as anything), and then quickly ‘unpack’ or copy the edited versions back from that document into the synopsis fields in the source documents in one operation. Can you use Edit Scrivenings to directly edit synopsis fields or does it only work on the main text content of the source documents?

MimeticMouton - I like your suggestion of manipulating the auto-generate synopsis function, but I think it would end up with me drowning in twice as many actual documents as I’d need to maintain a separate synopsis in a ‘proper’ document somehow linked to the real draft for each scene, or have the synopsis as actually part of the scene.

In short, it looks like 2.0 is going to solve this in any case (as I half expected) so I’ll be patient a little longer. I’m so looking forward to getting to grips with 2.0. I have affectionately termed it SuperScriv and even have some placeholder notes in my outlines and journal folder to the effect that ‘this might be best done in SuperScriv’ for a couple of things I’ve seen in the tantalising videos that look very cool indeed.

In the meantime I shall slake my lust by drooling over the blog :exclamation:

Many thanks for the responses,


Just a thought, Eddy, you could print your collated synopsis to PDF. If you wanted a hard copy, you could then simply print that … and of course with the PDF you can dump that in your research folder, have it open in the second split … etc.
But maybe you’ve thought of that already.


Thank you for the suggestion :slight_smile:

I’ve ended up doing something similar and actually pretty much what MimeticMouton outlined. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the auto-synopsis idea. I’ve created my RTF of the synopses, cleaned and tidied it up as a standard document, then split it into individual chunks, one for each scene and put these into a ‘Synopses’ folder in the binder. I’ve then used the auto-generate function to populate the cards for that synopses folder.

Now, I do have to manually update the synopses for my drafts in the manuscript folders, but I can do lots of pondering, shuffling, messing about etc. in the ‘Synopses’ folder and then only update a synopsis here and there in the manuscript once I’m happy fiddling around.

It’s not quite as seamless as I was fantasizing about before, but it’s certainly practical and the overhead is minimal. The more outlining I do, the less I move stuff around. For new chapters, I’ll just do it from the start and then transfer the ‘Synopses’ folder contents to the corresponding synopsis fields in the documents in the manuscript once the order is finalized (or at least fairly well established).


PS: I admit I did have to look up the plural of ‘synopsis’ prior to making my first post in this thread :blush: