Please help a newbe with compiling!

I’ve been working on a fairly large document and have it arranged in sections, chapters and segments. I’d written several drafts. When I tried to compile it would only give me the option of compiling the first draft and the things in my research section. Even after I made a file that was just the second draft, it still did that.
I get the feeling I’m missing something crucial here. There was something about the compiler needing a draft file. Have I messed that up? Is there a place where there’s better information than endless and very simple tutorials and an unsearchable manual?
Please! I’m past miserable. :cry:

Others here can answer this far better than I, but I’ll take a quick stab at it… take this with a grain of salt.

When you create a new Scrivener project, there will be an item in the binder named “Manuscript”. At one time, I believe it used to be called “Draft”. It’s icon looks like a stack of paper. I tend to think of it as a folder, though that’s probably not technically correct… but perhaps can think of it as the most high level specialized folder or container that contains the only material (folders and documents) that actually get compiled. That’s a slight oversimplification, but in general, materials in Research and other folders outside “Manuscript” are not compiled. “Manuscript” can apparently be renamed without affecting this, but regardless, in general, only material in that item get compiled.

Basically, only two kinds of things exist within “Manuscript”. Folders and documents. They can be called sections, chapters, segments or whatever is meaningful, but they are basically folders or documents.

Basically, determine which item was originally “Manuscript”, place only what you want compiled in it, with everything else outside it elsewhere in the binder.

Not sure what you mean when referring to multiple drafts… perhaps the original manuscript/draft item is what you are referring to as “first draft” and the others are folders outside that item?

It is possible to create a folder named “Research” inside the original manuscript/draft item… but that’s not the original Research item/container.

Hope that is some help. I’ll poke around and post some followup notes and/or links.

P.S. Be doubly sure you have backups of the entire project (the whatevertheprojectnameis.scriv folder) before proceeding. You need the entire .scriv folder (or a compressed .zip file version of it), not just individual files from inside it.

Some things I would suggest…

Try the built in tutorial again. Help > Interactive Tutorial.
The manual is available both built in (Help > Scrivener Manual) and for download

Try some small low risk limited time proof of concept lab experiments. Create new projects and do just enough in them to rough up what you are trying to do… a few folders and documents, with minimal text in the documents). If they crash and burn, no big deal. Keep a few of those around for later, since opening and trying something in them is a lot faster and safer than trying something in a real major project.

As far as other books and references… there are several dealing with Scrivener available on Amazon, in ebook and/or paper form. I use Gwen Hernandez’s Scrivener For Dummies. But there are others and I have not reviewed/compared them lately. There are probably some excellent ones available free on the Internet. Try searching “Scrivener tutorial”, etc.

And again, as I mentioned in my earlier post, make sure you routinely make and save backups of your actual projects.

Hope that is of some help.

As Sandra discusses below, there is a second part to this that I failed to touch on… what portion of the material in “Manuscript” you choose to actually compile.

So, the two parts or pieces of this are:

  1. Accumulating all material that you will ultimately want compiled together into “Manuscript”.
  2. Specifying, in File > Compile, which portions of that material you want compiled during the current compile.

In File > Compile, you will be presented with either a small minimal Compile dialog box or a large detailed Compile window. You’ll want the large one. If you get the small one, click the large blue down arrow to the right of the Format As field.

In the large Compile window, you are presented with several choices in the left column, including Contents. The choices presented there vary a bit, depending on what format you specify in the Compile For field near the bottom.

Select Content and then, in the wider right hand column select the portions or entirety of the “Manuscript” items you want compiled.

P.P.S. The downloadable version of the manual, mentioned above, is in PDF (Adobe Reader) format, has a table of contents with links to chapter and is searchable.

I am not sure if this is what you mean, but assuming that you have several drafts co-existing, do you mean you can only select the sections, chapters and segments in your first draft?

Because in that case, have you checked if the thing where you compile says “first draft” instead of what you want it to be? (e.g. second draft or entire project)

I mean in the contents part, above the thing where you can select which texts to include, pg-break and as-is and such. Above there you can select which part of your project you want to show up below to work with. You can for instance check your whole project, or just one folder, or just one segment in the folder.

Not sure if this is what you meant though…

I put the manuscript in a clean project but the problem still persists. There’s 2 drafts and the compile box only will allow the ones out of the first draft. There’s a search feature mentioned but no way to search.
When I compile I get a pile of trash from the first draft.

I would be happier about the manual if it were searchable. Going through article by article in panic mode is unhelpful. 330 pages of anything without a searchable index is a daunting read at best. Nothing I’ve read in the manual covers this. Although it would have been easy enough in 330 pages to miss it.

What I need to do is figure out how to get compile to recognize the second draft ( which in the latest version is on top in the manuscript folder. I must be doing something wrong because this is blinking impossible.
Please, if you have more information. help.

I was able to get a mock document to compile. Does this mean I need to create a new document scene by scene in a new file. I’ll do it if I must but it’s over a hundred scenes. Anyone know?

I’m not sure how you’re getting it to compile the 1st draft AND the contents of the Research folder, but typically, the Draft (aka “Manuscript”) folder is where you should be keeping your latest draft. How are you producing subsequent drafts within Scrivener? Using Documents->Duplicate menu? Creating a bunch of new documents and copying and pasting the contents? Compiling to a single file, and then re-importing back to Scrivener? Can you take a screen shot of Scrivener, showing the two different drafts?

  • I’m using “Draft folder” because it’s easier to type than all the alternatives. If you started with a Novel template, then it’s probably named “Manuscript” instead.

I’m wondering… do you know that the compile process relies on the presence of a “special” folder, the one that was named “Draft” or maybe “Manuscript” when you first created the project? You can’t pick/create just any old folder in the binder to be a “Draft” or “Manuscript” folder.

Thank you all. I got it. I needed to completely reenter the document.

Robert, you gave me the piece of information that I needed. It’s not really clear in the documentation.