Scrivener, the iPad, a lost screenwriter

Checking back in on the topic — my revised workflow is as follows:

I’m writing more than ever on the iPad (iPad + Apple Bluetooth Keyboard + Incase Origami), using the App Elements. I like Elements because it’s very Dropbox savvy, and gives me a lot of flexibility in how my documents appear (I can sort them by name, date of creation, whatever — some apps only sort by creation date, which mucks up the whole thing for me.)

In turn, I am synching my Scrivener project to that same dropbox folder. So when I open Elements, there is my “binder” waiting for me — a numbered (by Scrivener) sequence of text docs in dropbox, ready for work.

Everything is written in Fountain, as .txt files (though now I can use .fountain, I suppose!) Preview isn’t an issue for me because I just don’t do it while I’m drafting in Fountain — I actually find that not doing so frees me from even thinking about that kind of thing.

I can see how this all might seem kind of convoluted to someone who hasn’t tried it (or is intimidated by learning Scrivener + Dropbox + Elements + Fountain). It isn’t - in fact, it may be the least fiddly way I’ve ever worked.

Setting up Scrivener to work with Dropbox is trivial, thanks to Ioa’s insanely helpful documentation. Elements is similarly easy to set up. And the Fountain learning curve, as I’ve said before, is almost nonexistent.

The result is that all the software and all the hardware just goes away. I open Elements, and there’s my script, in chunks — on my iPad or my phone. When I synch in Scrivener, there it all is!

It’s reminded me of how amazingly flexible Scrivener is. Example: I thought of a nice exchange I wanted to add to the script. I was on the Metro in DC. Typed it into my phone as a new document in my “binder” in Elements — Fountain just lets me do that, with no formatting worries. When I got home, there it was, in beautiful chunk style in Scrivener. I just found a place for it in my script, copy pasted it to that section and I was done.

Because I’m so happy with this system, my lust for Scrivener iOS is severely muted — I’m already doing what I want to do on iOS!

I’m afraid that also means that I haven’t contributed much to the Scriv for iOS wish list, though. For me, if the iPad Scrivener does what I’ve outlined above + Fountain preview, that’s my suggestion for screenplay functionality on that app. I’m sure the general thought is to not require the Fountian syntax — to simply allow people to write in screenplay format everywhere. I get why people would want that, but I can honestly say that I don’t think I’d use it. I rather like plain text.

Anyway, thanks once again Keith et al. I’ve been using Scrivener for four and a half years now, and I continue to be amazed at how the original Scivener concept has allowed the software to become more and more valuable every year.

Oh, this is great! So with the new Scrivener beta, I can import fountain-formatted text from something like Elements, and it shows up in Scrivener formatted as a screenplay? :smiley:

I too am a long time Scrivener user who’s been away from the Forums. Was very excited to read Sean Coffee’s post.

For the past couple of months I’ve been experimenting with the Fountain syntax, using iA Writer and the public beta of Highland, and have had a positive experience similar to Sean’s.

As a result, I was beginning to imagine working with nothing but iA Writer and Highland, but I would miss Scrivener’s Binder to outline and arrange Scene and Sequence documents. So I’m excited to use the process Sean describes.

Will explore how to set things up…


I found that after Syncing the Plain Text files back into Scrivener, Ligature gets turned on (I have my documents set with Ligature off). I can fix this by selecting Documents > Convert > Formatting to Default Text Style. Is there a way to configure Scrivener so that Ligature is always off?

UPDATE: I did some research and discovered that there is now a ligature-free version of my favorite fixed width font, Nitti. Once I get that installed I’ll run through this Sync process again.

Unfortunately a number of the typesetting controls like ligature usage are not saved in the method that Scrivener has to use to generate default formatting. Basically there is a tool that stores formatting instructions—this tool gets used for all kinds of things in the software—but it unfortunately does not save all formatting attributes. So they’ll stick in the editor because they are saved into the editor, but if you then go to a different file and use the formatting settings to transfer settings to the new file (such as using Formatting Presets), this property will get lost.

Using a font that just flat out doesn’t support the feature you want to avoid is probably the best course of action if it really bothers you. I know how annoying it is though. My favourite fixed width font, OliveGreen Mono has ligatures. Personally I think ligatures on a fixed width font is just about the most useless and undesirable thing a font could do, but it’s either live with it or use another font—and I really like OGM. :confused:

Ioa - Thanks for the detailed description. Very helpful! And I totally agree with your assessment of ligatures on a fixed width font. Seems crazy to me too.

I received the 3.0 version of Nitti and I am now ligature free! Bold Monday decided to change the behaviour of the ligatures because many people found them intrusive. In this new version the fi and fl ligatures are only activated when using the discretionary ligature feature, which should be off in all applications by default.

I’m now having creative fun with Scrivener, Fountain, and Highland via Sync to Dropbox and iA Writer on my mobile devices.

Yeah, I should send in my feedback to the font author rather than just brood over it. :slight_smile:

Looking forward to IOS for my iPad-PC work, but am assuming it will be out in Q1 2013. Working with Evernote for now.