Split page in two levels

Hi all,

I am trying to play with page format in different chapters in my novel and in one of them I want to split the page in two levels (up & down) where events will happen at the same time in both levels (something like in ‘Diary of a Bad Year’ by Coetzee). So, the upper level is telling a story A and the lower level a story B, and that continues during the whole chapter.

Is there any way to do this splitting (not sure if it has to be just in the compiling stage) and view it while editing?

Thank you!!

I have to say that, not only do I think it probably wouldn’t be possible just using Scrivener, but I wouldn’t even try. What you are talking about really needs a page layout program like Affinity Publisher — or InDesign if you run to that — which would handle it pretty straightforwardly.

I would do the writing with the two storylines as different documents within the same chapter in Scrivener, using a split editor with storyline A in one split and storyline B in the other. I would then compile it and import it into Affinity Publisher, with master pages set up with upper and lower text boxes for that chapter, and flow the storyline A text into the upper text box and storyline B into the lower.

Page layout software has the reputation of having a bit of a learning curve but for something like you’re wanting it’s pretty straightforward.

HTH :slight_smile:



For a rather extreme example of this, check out Only Revolutions, by Mark Z. Danielewski. Each page contains, among some marginalia, two POVs, one upside down from the other, and on two timelines, one going forward and the other backward (so the book is completely reversible no matter which way you hold it).

Guess what he used to write the book? InDesign. For something where the layout is critical to the narrative, you really need a canvas to work on, and Scrivener is almost the opposite of what you’d need for that kind of project. Most writing tools will be, to be fair (and in most cases writing in InDesign would be a nightmare).

On the other hand, if this is just one special chapter, or here and there, you could approach it like described above: just mark these sections with highlighters or something so you know how to handle them after compile, and do your layout as a final step.

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Thank you a lot, Mark & AmberV.

I think I’ll go to Mark’s suggestion on writing both stories separately and then mix them in a final stage with another software. I know a bit of InDesign but I’ll check how this Affinity Published works!

Here’s a heads up: Serif have just announced 50% off all their Affinity apps and add-ons, which brings Affinity Publisher down to £23.99… that’s for a full licence, not a subscription! Same price for Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer, with the iPad versions down to £8.99.

If you don’t have them, but think you might need any of them at some point, getting them now is a no-brainer.

I’m not affiliated to Serif in any way.