Quick compiling to Novel Manuscript format

I have a novel in parts that I am compiling to manuscript format. I created a ‘Prologue’ that comes before the first part. Actually, the parts, chapters and scenes are just placeholders at this point – all I’ve actually written is the Prologue.

I decided to try the compile feature. I managed to find the place where I can control things like the Surname / TITLE, etc., but there is one rather annoying quirk, for which I have not found the solution.

Each ‘chunk’ in my outline has the word ‘CHAPTER’ prepended in the final PDF. For example:

                           CHAPTER ONE

Part One





I would really rather suppress that automatic CHAPTER label if it cannot be cajoled into behaving in a manner respectful of my layout intentions. :slight_smile:

Any suggestions?

  • Bob

One tool you can use is the difference between files and folders in the formatting compile pane. This gives you a great amount of control over things, as you can set up different treatments for these types, as well as levels of these types. So for instance you could set up top level files to not emit the “Chapter” bit, but keep it so that folders do. The “Compile As-Is” flag can come in handy for some things, like the title page, but you generally don’t want to use that for sections as it also disables the formatting engine as well as titles. So use that one with care.

Thanks for the tip. It seems I can indeed cajole it at least into dropping the CHAPTER <$t> prefix in the Title Settings for any given ‘Level’.

It would be nicer (read: more intuitive) if instead of ‘Level’ in the outline it was based on the label (if any) applied to the chunk… allowing me to make settings for every kind of label that is defined in the project. And enforcing a certain discipline about tagging each chunk.

  • Bob

Yeah, more extensive options here are in the “for consideration” pile for future features. You can do an awful lot with three types and levels, though. It’s just that it does have some limitations and it does coerce one to organise in a more rigid fashion in some cases. So something more freeform would be nice; but it would take careful design as that could easily become bloated and confusing.

May I say that bobcalco’s suggestion is SUPER! Absolutely SUPER!!!

There are a range of users with varied backgrounds writing with Scrivener. Some have little computer experience, some are computer professionals themselves. We run the gamut, certainly.

With that as preface, I’d say that the existing Compile/Formatting UI might be a little daunting for those users with less experience. But since the concept of document metadata already exists (for example, “do I want a page break?”, “do I want to compile as is?”), using that concept in the Compile/Formatting UI instead of hierarchy level (a) would be more flexible (each user can define their own labels), and (b) would be more easily understood by users.

The compiler would then use the user’s concepts–perhaps story, scene, paragraph or novel, chapter, scene, etc…–to choose what to compile. And while the Binder hierarchy would still exist, it wouldn’t control what was compiled as directly as it does today. The actual tagged documents would. I think it would make explaining and using the compiler more user-friendly and easier to understand. And I’ll be a little biased and say significantly so. But perhaps I feel constrained by the necessity of hierarchical rigor more than some others might.

But there would still be a hierarchy. All of us compartmentalize our work into big -> smaller -> even smaller bits just so we can keep a handle on what we’re doing. And if Compile used label metadata instead of the hierarchy, how could I compile all the “chapter” bits? How would Compile know what to use?

It’s straightforward, I think. Just don’t completely throw away the hierarchy when Compile looks for chunks to include. If the label “Chapter” has been selected, then the folders containing the label “Chapter” and their children are compiled. Walking the hierarchy multiple times, once for each label, would still work, and would simply mark documents that were already included by a parent. That’s fine. And perhaps this is a checkbox “Include sub-folders.”

And (this is important) the user would no longer have to think “Level 1 means Chapter to me,” “Level 2 means Scene to me,” “Level 3 means Sub-scene to me,” etc. The mental gymnastics users currently go through (at least this user) to map their particular hierarchy which is organized in their terms into numbered hierarchy levels would be gone. And the necessity to be rigorous and regular constructing that hierarchy would be eliminated. If a user wanted to be rigorous, fine. If they wanted a little flexibility, fine. Just label the bits what they are. And I think that would be a good thing. And a clean design. easy to explain. And easy to use. And, I think, easier to use than the current design.

(Jim gets off his soapbox and returns to the 739–oops, 746–oops, 751–oops, 760–RSS replies he has yet to read. But that’s an improvement. He started a few days ago with 1700, 99.9+% from L&L. We are a talkative bunch.)