Project structure and targets

Ok… it is 10 pm and I think I am procrastinating. Or I am really tired and just look for some “easy” work to get done… and would very much appreciate some help (I am fairly new to Scrivener, having decided to dump Word in order to get some nice “chunky” writing done).
I am working on my PhD thesis. It is (as of now…) structured into:
6 chapters, each with 3-5 subchapters or parts.
each chapter is a folder
the parts within this folder are mostly files, but if they are really large and multitopical, they can also be folders.
question a) do you think that is a good way of structuring, or are there much better ones?
question b) I love wordcounting for motivation. Now, the overall target is 75.000 words. I’ve managed to set this as the “Draft target.” Easy! I also know how to set a target for individual files. But: I want the folders to actually have a target. Say: Chapter 1: 20.000 words, split into 10.000 words for part 1 and 10.000 words for part 2. Somehow I have the idea that since part 1 and 2 are contained in the folder “Chapter 1” the wordcount should add up towards the overall chapter target (which I can’t set somehow anyway). Erm… am I explaining that somehow logically? The question then would be: is this possible, and if so, how???

Thanks very much for having kept on reading!

In reverse order:

Targets: You can’t set a multi-document target exactly as you’re describing, but you can set up Outliner to essentially emulate this, I think. Set Outliner to show columns for Total Word Count and Target. Target you already know–this is the same as what you see in the footer of the Editor and you set it per document. The Total Word Count will, for single documents, be the same as word count, but for folders and document groups it will be the sum of the folder’s word count (if there is folder text) and the sub-documents’ word counts. It sounds, from your set up, that you don’t have any text in your six chapter folders–they’re merely being containers to hold subdocuments. If that’s true, then this will be fairly easy, since the total word count will be exactly what you want (the sum of the subchapters’ counts); if you are putting text in the folders, you’ll just need to make sure your target accommodates that.

So what you’ll do is set a target for your folder–say 10K words. Then break that down for each of your subdocuments, say 5K for part A, 3K for part B, 2K for part C. You’ll get your x/y count and progress bar in the footer of each of those subdocuments when you’re working (and you can choose to show the progress in the Outliner as well if you like). You won’t get that for the folder, at least not in a meaningful way, because the target is specifically for that document text and you won’t have any, so it’ll always stay 0/10K. But in the Outliner you’ll be able to watch the total word count for the folder go up as you write in the subdocuments, and when that hits 10K, bingo, you’re there. (Of course, you might go over or stay under, but you’ll be able to see the cumulative count, which is the main thing. Don’t just stop at 10K if you’re halfway through a sentence. :wink:)

Just note that in order to see the folder’s word count and target in Outliner, you’ll need to select a higher-level folder (e.g. the Draft) or multiple documents since the Outliner will show you the contents of your Binder selection unless it’s a multiple selection.

With that in mind, going back to your question a)–I really don’t have a lot to offer here, since I have no idea what you’re writing about or how you’re breaking it down. If you want to use targets and word counts as above, dividing pieces into folders/doc groups per section that you want to count makes sense. The best I can really offer is to remember that your Binder structure does not necessarily have to be visible at compile time–that is, you can break things down a lot more in the Binder as is useful to you when writing without making it look at all broken up when you print out your paper at the end. Also that it’s flexible and you can always move it around later if you find it helpful to do so. I’d break it down into topical chunks, or the various arguments for each point, and then continue to break it down from there, plus introduction and conclusions sections, but how “chunky” you get really depends on what you’re comfortable with. You may start out with fairly loose, broad sections and then as you’re writing or revising start chopping them up into smaller pieces to make them easier to work with. Since you can always use Scrivenings to work on sections together, you might go as small as a paragraph or a couple sentences for chunk, if you’re doing a lot of rearranging. (I don’t tend to work that narrowly, but then I also don’t tend to be writing academic papers.) You can also expand or collapse things in the Binder or use the “Hoist” feature to help focus on a particular section, again making the chunking easier to deal with.

A lot of it may also depend on your style of writing–do you tend to go linearly from point to point or are you likely to just get inspired for an argument somewhere in the middle of the paper and want to just write it all down and deal with connecting it later? In the latter case you might just end up with a few folders for various headings and then subdocuments underneath for the different points as you start to build your case; as you redefine the structure of the paper, the Binder can be continually refined to match it.

I was going to write a detailed reply, but MM has said all the juicy bits (I use the progress bar in outliner as described above).

As for writing a PhD - first of all, well done on choosing the best application for writing a PhD. Everybody I know that has tried it in academia has stuck with it (including an increasing number of Windows beta users).

I am a big fan of chunking. As I write, I sometimes wonder things like “Should this actually be in Chapter XX?” or “Hmm, this might be better following the paragraph on Slaven’s Reverse-wave Paralysis”*. Rather than switch out of writing mode and into editing mode, I just hit Cmd-K to split the current document and keep going. I also do this if I know I have to write about a topic, but aren’t yet sure exactly where it belongs. Again, I just create a subdocument close to where I think it will fit and write.

One of the things I love about Scrivener is that allows for writing to be separate from planning, structuring and editing. My thesis has 9 chapters but, according to my outline, 142 “items”. This is growing daily and I expect it to more than double.

[size=85]*I don’t know who, or even if, Slaven is and I just made up Reverse-wave Paralysis. I must remember to use it in a sci-fi story though…[/size]

Be sure to post when you have that one published, because I am already hooked. :slight_smile:

Dear MM and nom,

thanks very much for your replies :slight_smile: MM, thanks a lot for all the detail :smiley: . I’ll try and set this up this evening with a glass of red wine and some stress-chocolate, just in case. If I ever get over my word target, I’ll send you a big virtual chocolate muffin.
nom, yes, writing in chunks is much better for me, too. And the possibility to rearrange things is one of the really great things about Scrivener. Going through literature I know know exactly were all the lovely information should/could go to. I sometimes have to be really disciplined though, in order not to keep “jumping” around but get some consequitive pages down.
Anyway, good writing and “growing” everybody :smiley:


Ha! Couldn’t wait till the evening. It works :smiley:

I’m shocked - shocked - that there are still people who don’t know who Slaven is (or claim not to…). I mean, come on, surely his work on the psychoanthropological effects of polarised beta-gluon radiation has made a household name by now.

Good heavens. You mean that’s the same Slaven? I should have known–the man is a genius!

That’s the way! :slight_smile:

You know how it is when reviewing article after article. After a while, you begin consider yourself lucky to remember the benefits of Reverse-wave Paralysis let alone that Slaven was responsible. Under those circumstance it’s easy to forget that she was also responsible for the resurgent interest in pan-species psychoanthropology following her discovery of the effects of beta-gluon radiation. Which is an embarrassment for me as her elegant, and so very polite, dismantling of Schofield’s theorem was a delight. The corresponding cross-dimensional neuro-implant visualisation (we still don’t have adequate language for direct brain-stim communication) was a revelation and transformed my entire research career. My humble apologies to Roberta Slaven, her family, her clan and her Guild.

Unfortunately, I have to finish my thesis in this dimensional reality (which would be so much easier with brain-stim comms) before I can pursue my interest in applied Reverse-wave Paralysis… :neutral_face: