So far so good...but need a few pointers..this is the first

Hi everyone.

I just installed the trial version of Scrivener for windows, spent some time going through the tutorial and so far I’m very impressed with the software. I wanted to ask a question please, and if i missed the answer in the tutorial then shame on me lol. Thus far, all my work has been on paper (i have tons and tons and fast running out of space…oh, and did i mention needing a secretary?), so it seems prudent of me to finally make the transition to working digitally.

Ok, my question concerns characters and linking them to the novel. What i mean is, I created a new folder for them (labeled characters) and dropped some characters in there (each one being a separate text document), which i will flesh out as i go along.
I also created my first chapter and scenes under Draft.It was very handy to flesh out the basics of the scene so i could see at a glance (using the cork-board and outliner, great stuff!) what each one was about and what i needed to include.

Now what i would like to do is link character names appearing in my novel to those character profiles, so i can then split the screen in two and refer to my notes on a given character whilst working on a scene in the story. I intend to do the same for locations, history, beliefs etc.

One thing i have tried is to select a character name in the body of text and link it to my character profile (by right clicking highlighted text and navigating, though scrivener link, to a character sheet). This worked, underling the word/name in blue. However, what i was hoping for was that all reappearances of that character name in the body of text would have the same link but they didn’t, only the one i selected had the link. Is it possible to set up a link once and the program knows thereafter that every time that character name appears, it should link it to the profile i made?

I apologize if my question is a little long winded and want to say thanks in advance. Scrivener seems to be a wonderful program and I look forward to discovering what else it can do (wheres my credit card?)

Many thanks in advance
PS Its not a big deal at the end of the day. The character folder i made with the individual profiles is visible in the binder, so i can still access it, but i like to hide the binder and inspector sometimes. Thanks again

Hello Tmangus,
Keywords are probably what you need here. If you have a character document for say ‘Smith’ with his details, and then in the keyword panel in meta data for that document insert a keyword ‘Smith’. When Smith appears in any scene, add the keyword ‘Smith’ to that scenes meta data. Now when you click on main menu keywords, it will bring up the box to select your keyword; in this case Smith. In the results on left, there will be all the scenes (documents) and your character sheet where Smith appears. Just split editor and select the character sheet and the scene you want to work on.
Collections are another resource worth investigating. There are so many ways to achieve an objective in Scrivener it really comes down to your own preferred method.
Hope it makes a little sense.

Hi Shass

Many thanks for your reply. That method seems all the more robust and I will certainly give it a try. Thus far, I’ve been keeping the binder pane open and flicking over to character profiles as and when i need them, but using keywords metadata, as i understood your post, will not only allow me to link to character profiles, but also to any and all documents featuring the character name. If that’s the case, then its even better than i hoped for lol.

Well, off i go to give it a whirl. I’m sure i will have other questions as i learn but glad to know the forums here are a great place for help and support.

Thanks once again

Another advantage to keywords is that your characters can have nicknames, be referred to only by title + last name in a scene, or go unnamed in the text. The keyword will remind you that the scene is supposed to contain “Sam”, even though you only wrote “Mr. Smith” in the attributions and dialogue.

I suggest if you used keywords and saved searches that focus on keywords to keep up with all the documents with a given character in them, that you move your characters folder above your draft folder. The reason is this: saved searches always list documents in the order they appear in the binder; a character document will always be at the top.

Thank you Robert, that is very handy to know. I had my characters folder at the bottom of the binder list, but moving it up to the top now as advised.

I’m liking this more and more lol. Why didn’t i know about this program sooner? I smashed out a 1st draft for a project last year, using word, and only went with a basic outline. The rest i made up as I went along (letting the characters act out their parts by throwing obstacles and challenges at them).
Since then, I have started working on a prequel to the work i did last year, and discovered that i pretty much like to flesh out my whole novel in substantial depth before undertaking the writing.

Now, the concept has grown so large, I m having to break it into four parts (maybe 150’000 words per part, after cutting. I will try to drop it to 125’000, which is my intended target).
So, seeing the limitations in MS Word, I’ve resorted to paper. Since discovering Scrivener, It looks like i might not need to worry about level arch files and tons of paper to sift through lol. I think I will definitely be purchasing this program. The only thing that worries me I guess is power…no electricity, no Scrivener, no novel lol. I’m still trying to break my old traditions lol and tend to take pen and paper everywhere i travel. Also, the prospect of transferring all my notes onto the computer is a daunting one to say the least. I have in excess of a 1000 pages of ideas, concepts, characters and artwork (i do like to paint too). That is something else will need to look into; how to transfer my artwork over (would be nice to place them in the research and world-building folders).

Anyway, the journey of discovery and fascination continues. I appreciate all the helpful responses.

I would suggest picking and choosing which things to transcribe into your research folder. You can always make a brief note about which notebook(s) & page number(s) to reference when considering a particular location or character. As for artwork, a digital camera and some excellent lighting are your best bets. If you have smaller drawings (notebook paper sized) or just like to see your hand-written notes, a good scanner is nice to have; it can also help in transcribing, but too many images makes for a very large project, which makes your automatic backups rather large.

Speaking of backups, I’d suggest you sign up for some kind of service like dropbox and pointing your automatic backups to its folder; that way, if your computer ever crashes, your project will be safe.

Once again, many thanks Robert for your helpful post.

I think i have a digital camera kicking about somewhere (why didn’t I think of that lol?) so that sorts out the artwork (which is mostly concept drawings, maps and character portraits). I started writing my first scenes yesterday, working from my physical paperwork and only adding important details to Scrivener (world building, characters etc), whilst making a note of where to look in my paperwork if i needed more data. The experience has been beyond my expectations and suits my needs in a way that word can never compare. I do like word (having used for a while now) but it certainly doesn’t help me keep on top of things (unless i go to great lengths which are painstaking to say the least).

So far its all going great. I have 27 days left before the trial period expires but I’m sold; i will definitely be purchasing the full version.
I find the targets very helpful, not to mention the outliner, cork-board and full screen mode (proving to be of tremendous benefit to me). I also look forward to seeing some of those mac features come over to the windows version (I saw a video where comparisons were made between a backup and working version of a piece of work, with a neat little feature that highlighted changes/differences between the two copies; this feature would be very helpful for me and i cant seem to find it on the windows version. If it is there, I must have missed it) I also like the auto save feature, which free’s me from remembering to save my work as i go along (something i had to make a habit of with Word).
Regards backups, when i was working with Word, i backed up my data every week or so onto a USB stick i have, so I was thinking to do the same with Scrivener. Would you recommend the dropbox instead of my current method, and if so please explain (I’m still learning lol).

One other question i would like to ask If I may; If i purchase the windows version of Scrivener and later decide to buy a mac computer, would i have to purchase another copy of Scrivener solely for the mac version? I apologize in advance if this has been answered elsewhere.

Many thanks in advance, from a more than satisfied user :smiley:

The feature you’re referring to is likely the one called “Snapshots”. Each text document in your binder can essentially have a copy of itself stored to the side before you go on an make more changes, and these snapshots can let you get back to the previous version(s) of the text. The highlighted changes are probably a ways off, but you can definitely view any snapshots you have taken in the past and visually compare it with the current version in the editor pane.

My memory of the “Interactive Tutorial” is vague, but I’m pretty sure snapshots are covered there; If you haven’t gone through that yet, I suggest you do it just to see a survey of all that Scrivener can do. It’s located under “Help”, or via the template chooser.

As for backups, a thumb drive copy is better than nothing, but you have to remember to plug it in and make your backup to it, and a week’s work can be a lot to re-create if your computer crashes or is stolen. The advantage to Dropbox + Scrivener’s automatic backups (see the Tools->Options->Backup settings), is that every time you close your project, a backup can be automatically generated and immediately uploaded to the Dropbox servers. That means that if you close the project/quit scrivener every day that you work on it, you will always have a very fresh backup copy of your work, with no effort (once you do the initial setup).

If you are unfamiliar with the concept entirely, the point is that you have a copy of these files on your hard drive (usually in a specially designated folder), but also a copy is uploaded to a server on the internet (the trendy term for this is “the cloud”). This means that there is at least one other computer in a remote location that has your data, which will make it immune (well, resistant) to burglary, fire, coffee spills, losing your laptop/thumb drive, or many other potential ways to lose access to your work.

I work on a desktop at home and a laptop in the office. With dropbox, I always have the latest version, wherever I am, AND have the peace of mind that comes with having a backup. I am still in the trial period but getting ready to buy. Scrivener has helped me get more writing done since I got it that I don’t want to take the chance of being without it. :slight_smile:

Many thanks for your clarifications Robert, that makes perfect sense, and to meglearner for demonstrating the functions of “the cloud”. I only have my laptop, but its handy to know i can just pick up where i left off on another device with Scrivener installed (at least that’s what i understood).

I’ve noticed when i close Scrivener, a progress bar appears briefly telling me its backing up. I will check and make sure it is backing up to the dropbox.

Well, i can only say iv been bitten by the Scrivener bug lol. So glad I discovered it. Writing has just become so much easier.

Thanks for all the help.

God bless

Unless you understand the (low, but non-zero) risks involved in keeping your “live” project in the Dropbox folder, I recommend against that if you don’t have more than one computer. Keep your projects themselves outside of the Dropbox folder, but (once you’ve set up Dropbox), point your backups there. A backup is just a copy of your project, by the way. For good measure use the options to compress (zip) them, add the date to the filenames, and increase the number in the “Only keep ___ backups”.

Okay, thanks Robert. I Really appreciate you taking the time to go into details about all this. Its helped a lot. It’s nice to know I can come here with questions and get answers.

God Bless

Following a tip from someone else on here, I “pause syncing” with Dropbox, when working on Scrivener and resume syncing whenever I close the project. I didn’t realise that that was possible before reading it here and it’s easy to do. Just click on the Dropbox icon in the system tray (I work in Windows), then click on the cog wheel in the top right corner, to show the drop down menu. Click on “pause syncing”. Reverse when finished. The Dropbox icon in the system tray briefly shows “updating files”, if I hover over it and then the usual “up to date”.

I keep all my important working documents in Dropbox because I work on both computers on all important projects. I picked that tip up from elsewhere - people who were already working on Dropbox before me. I was finding that the documents I needed were not updating, because I didn’t understand how Dropbox worked (I may still not :slight_smile:). But my understanding is that the Dropbox folder on my computer is just another folder on my computer, where I can store files but Dropbox ONLY updates folders and files that are in that folder. Once I realised that I had to actually work IN THE DROPBOX FOLDER, it was much easier. It took a while to transfer all my files into Dropbox because I had different versions and copies on the two computers, so I had to make sure that the correct one was stored there. Now it’s much easier - I just work in the Dropbox folder all the time for important projects and start them all there too.

Thanks for that meglearner. Very helpful post mate. Ill bear that in mind when i next fiddle under the bonnet. This thread has been a real eye opener for me and i greatly appreciate all the constructive advice. Ill let you know how i get on.

Thanks again

I am also using Dropbox to write on two different computers and discovered something weird.

Both computers are Windows 7. The Scrivener project is saved in Dropbox, so that is where both Scriveners are opening it. I am completely closing one Scrivener before opening the other (that’s to head off some obvious questions later). Both Scriveners are set on Times New Roman, 12pt, double spaced. Both appear completely fine when seen in Scrivener on either computer.

The strange part is… When exported, anything I write on my laptop has the font changed to Courier. Even though when writing it on the laptop all text appears as Times New Roman. Courier is not the chosen font anywhere in the document, so where is it coming from?

Has anyone else run into this? What can I do about it other than export and change formatting in another word processor (which I don’t want to do at all)?

I really need my font style to be consistent.

Are you exporting “File->Export” or compiling “File->Compile”? If the later, then you should look into how the compiler can override the font settings you used to compose your text in Scrivener; it does that so that you can change a few things in the compiler without messing with the original text.

There are settings that let you keep all the formatting the way you see it in the editor (selecting “original” from the topmost compile drop-down option, I think… never do that myself), but one of the beauties of Scrivener is that you can choose a font that is pleasing to your eyes (even using a ridiculously large font), but have it come out “normal” when you compile.

I am using File -> Compile. The Settings are Original and RTF. Since it’s TNR 12pt in the Editor and that’s what I wanted in the compile, Original seemed the thing to do. I’ll mess with it when I have more free time. Original seemed like it would give me WYSIWYG in the compile. I don’t see how the laptop itself could override font selections unless I choose that in Scrivener. BTW, the compile was done on the desktop if it matters. I’m still new to Scrivener so I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually.

That seems odd and bug-like. I’d post a new thread with a title like " ‘Original’ compile setting changes font" or something like that. Describe your issue there, and someone will hopefully help you address it. The only interrim solution is to use some other preset, and then change the compile settings to use TNR 12, as if it needed to be changed from another font.