Setting up a Structured Story-Development Environment

So the pitch is what you’d tell the agent or editor – keeping it snappy and simple in view of their low intelligence. :wink:

The premise is the “TV Guide” one-line synopsis.

And the theme is that category of basic plots in which the story falls.

Or something like that?

Don Hollway

Yes, that is pretty close. It is helpful to remember that every pitch is a selling spiel. It therefore needs a USP - Unique Selling Proposition - all sizzle no sausage.

the writers guild in most countries run Pitching classes and competitions. Google the American and Australian Writers guild for good explanations of Pitching.

Try the Australian Film Commission for some good definitions:

And here:



You will discover that the outliner in Scrivener is superior. It’s called the Binder, the far left-hand pane. Each file is a single project. Drag all the bits and pieces of that project into the Binder. Arrange them in story order and begin to develop sections or chapters. See the Edit menu for ways to split and combine pieces, though drag-and-drop work as well. I have nearly stopped using Word, since Bean is great for letters, memos and reports.

This rings all the bells. Bean is an absolute sweetie of an app. Fast, clean, and simply powerful at what it does. Its greatest strength is that it does not try to be anything other than a simple word processor. I rate it, along with Scrivener, as an absolute must have. I’ll float Mellel if the cargo is heavy enough, but I still use Word - I have to. It reigns supreme in the Windowscentric corporate world, and I find that using Word is generally less stressful than not doing so. It just makes it easier to play with your playmates.

Ditto. It was tough to switch from OmniOutliner to Scrivener at first, because I couldn’t get my head around one of Scriv’s major concepts: all stories are constructed in pieces, and the docs in the Binder are just pieces in a hierarchy. For awhile, I had to convert the folder icons to file icons in order to really “see” the Binder as an outliner and not a desktop. (To the computer, there’s really no difference between a Scriv Binder folder and a Binder file. We’re the ones who make the metaphors.) Now I’m just as comfortable making a Scriv document be as short as a sentence or as long as book chapter, depending on context. You’ll get there!

It’s kind of ironic that I use the Binder as an outliner, and use the Outliner (which is sort of like a binder anyway) hardly at all.

And another ditto for Bean, although I wish it’d allow me to use my existing TextEdit styles. The developer (who’s very friendly and responsive, BTW) has told me he’ll consider adding that. He already added a Services clipping function at my request.

I’m a new Scrivener owner, mostly due to this template. Kudos to its author.

I’m interested in where the structure ideas for this template came from, as seen in the “Story Stages” (Ordinary World, Call to Adventure, etc.) and “Characters’ Roles.” (Hero, Mentor, Shadow, etc.)

I’ve read books with similar plot stages & character archetypes, but I’d like to find the one that follows the exact 14-step story stages in the template. (My book lists only 9.) I have a whole plot in my head, but I know I have a tendency to wander and I want to force it into this template, if only to see where I wander.

Most of the Myth form templates and treatises arise from the work of Joseph Campbell.

Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1949. … sand_Faces

You will find most of the sources in the Research Binder folder. I used these sources and my own day to practices to make a set of templates that Scrivener and i both felt comfortable with. I have tried my best to keep the original works right at the the surface. There are no tricks or reworkings of the original materials - as you often see in the published work of people making money off other author’s work. I admire your desire to go back to sources. The sources are listed and generally well worth the effort. I just like to have the real book in my hands sometimes.

All the best - I know this stuff really works - but please be really flexible with it. I would strongly suggest not binding yourself to any particular template unless it is in the form of an experiment. The whole idea with these templates is to make them your own. Bend them. Break them up. Rework them. Save them then as your own templates.

There’s also the more accessible version, The Writer’s Journey, Chris Vogler’s take on Campbell’s ideas.

Thanks, guys! I’d heard of Campbell before, as George Lucas’ inspiration for the first Star Wars movies. (As opposed to the second Star Wars trilogy, which I believe was inspired by Mattel Corporation.) I couldn’t remember his name.

Just going over the book’s content description at Wikipedia was eye-opening. I bought the book.

You may now all stand back and watch me become a best-selling author. :wink:

I owned and used PowerWriter and PowerStructure before buying a MacBookAir specifically to use Scrivener as my authoring environment. I would very much enjoy looking through the PowerStructure template but I’m stuck and cannot get it to work. I have successfully used the Import Template function before on David Hewson’s Novel Template and others, but can’t make the same logic path work on this one.

I’ve tried downloading the .zip file and uncompressing using UNARCHIVER instead of the Finder decompression capability, but both ways lead to the same result. I can download, unzip, and Import the template, but when I choose the template from the Miscellaneous tab to start a new project, it will let me name the project and then tells me:
The document “test.scriv” could not be opened.
There was a problem trying to read the original data from
“/Users/p~/Downloads/PowerStructureTest.scriv”. Try updating from a backup.

Can anyone post a walk-thru of the steps I need to take to make this work correctly?

I wish there was a top-level section in the Forum called Template Exchange. I’ve had Scrivener for a couple years now and I’m still culling through old forum postings buried in various sub-forum locations that have VERY USEFUL templates posted that I didn’t know existed.

That template was something I posted back in 2007 (how the time flies). I see I have the original .scrptl file still among my templates, but I get the same sort of error when I try to open it. Sorry.


[UPDATE: Updated template for Scrivener 2.x is posted a few hops down.]

I did notice it was posted some time ago, hence my whine about a top level forum listing ALL the templates (project level, character sheets, location sheets, etc.) that Scrivener users have generated and are willing to share. I’ve picked up many useful tools from the community that I believe really add something to this already wonderful piece of software. You put a good deal of time into developing the template you posted and its a shame that even though I love and use Scrivener, I hadn’t been aware of it until just now.

I wonder if there is a way to pull apart the old .scrptl file to get at the rtf documents you had in it with the PowerStructure content? Do you still have an active project with the content you could ‘Save As…’ and then strip out your personal writing to save as a template in the new .scrivtemplate format? I hate to ask but your concept of PowerStructure methodology in Scrivener is VERY appealing to me.

My suggestion would be to track down the old version 1.x of Scrivener for Mac (I believe it’s still available), import the template and then create a new project from it. Quit version 1, and then open the new project with version 2; let it convert the project to the new version 2 format, then Save As Template to create a Scrivener version 2 compatible template.

I have no idea if the version 1.x software will run on recent macs, but it can’t hurt to try.

The old version of scrivener is available on the support page:

Yeah, it runs, and I occasionally use it when I have to help someone out who has yet to upgrade. We don’t officially support it (and there are a few features that are known to be broken), but for opening an old template and making a project out of it that can be updated to the 2.x format, there shouldn’t be a problem using the old demo.

In theory if you put the old template format into your .../Application Support/Scrivener/Project Templates folder it should work and be added to the Misc section, but perhaps here and there, particularly old ones do not work. I just gave it another whirl with an old template I made back in 2008-ish, and was able to create a new 2.x project off of it.

Here is that old template updated to Scrivener’s 2.x template format – for anyone else who might wander by looking for it.

Structured Story (78.1 KB)

Thanks again for your trouble to update the template to version 2.x and post it here. It imported perfectly and I’ve enjoyed looking through the old Power Structure Q&A used to invoke the bones of a story.

Once again I will beseech the Forum owners and/or Moderators to create a top-level forum titled “Scrivener Templates” to host forum-user generated project templates and document templates. Every entry should have a single attachment, the template. And if it can’t be a top-level forum, how about a sticky entry at the top of some already established Forum like this one where all templates could be posted.

Shoot, run a quarterly contest decided by a user poll on the most useful template submitted. Good quality well structured templates in a easy to find library in this Forum would do nothing but increase the adoption rate of writers on the fence about switching to a Scrivener writing environment.

I’m not sure if a whole separate forum is necessary for something like that, since this forum right here is what that sort of stuff is meant for. We already have two very similar forums, one for tips and one for usage scenarios. A third that is a usage scenario in concrete form—a template—seems excessive. Searching this forum for topic titles containing “template” with the first-post only option turned on in a pretty good way to find stuff.

We did try the sticky thread for a while, but there were only ever around half a dozen templates posted, and it eventually became a mess as a large majority of them were redacted at the author’s request. Ultimately it probably would have been better all along to have separate threads for each template. I’ve never been a big fan of the 100 page monster thread idea.

Thank you very much for this template!