I am writing with a suggestion for a new feature for Scrivener.
I think your program is really wonderful. But I thought you might find it useful to have a bit of feedback about the workflow that I have developed. And if you think it’s something that others would find useful, you might implement a new feature to make it more natural to do in Scrivener.
I am a university professor, and my field is ancient philosophy. So normally I write long pieces (40pp to 300pp) with complex, detailed arguments. I break up a paper or a book that I am writing into parts, and often those parts have subordinate parts.
Previously I had kept track of all this by using the Outline view in iWork Pages. But when I found Scrivener, it allowed me to make these complex documents in a much better way, with the document structure present clearly in the Binder. So when I write, I first block out my overall argument, and then make documenst that reflect that structure in Scrivener, and fill in the individual documents in whatever order makes most sense. So much is already possible in Scrivener.
However, the individual documents that make up my overall argument also have to be organised and logically coherent. I sometimes use Omnioutliner to write these individual parts. This allows me to compose my paragraphs with a very clear logical structure. The aim is for the outline to be my finished text, only requiring me to change its formatting from outline to a series of finished paragraphs.
I then import this into Scrivener. But Omnioutliner doesn’t make it easy to do this. The easiest way is to export a file as a Word document, change the indentation, get rid of carriage returns, and then copy and paste into Scrivener. This laborious process means that when doing revisions, I don’t go back to the original outline, but do it in the prose in Scrivener. But then I am losing the benefit of seeing the structure clearly.
What I would suggest is for you to make it possible to do all this within Scrivener, by adding an outline view for individual documents. That way, I could compose my ground-level argument as a structured outline within a single Scrivener document, and then hit a toggle button and it would be formatted as a series of paragraphs. Hit the toggle again, and I would see the outline again, allowing me to make structural changes to my argument with ease. There would have to be some sort of ‘new paragraph’ marker. Perhaps each highest level heading begins a new paragraph, or perhaps a code at the beginning of a line could tell Scrivener to begin a new paragraph. It would also be nice if the heading levels were clearly indicated, perhaps with Harvard numbering, or something that.
Anyway, there are probably lots of reasons why this wouldn’t be easy or desireable to implement. But I thought I would share it with you anyway.