Transitioning from scenes to chapters/folders ?

I am starting to gather my scenes into chapters. Right now I have 50 simple documents in the manuscript folder, each representing a scene.
I am not sure if I should create a new folder for each chapter and move the appropriate docs into each one, or drag each doc file onto the first one in each chapter to create a folder structure.
Please reference the manual if I need to go there :laughing:

personal preference…

In my world a chapter is a folder. The text on the folder is title, intro or other “thing” that isn’t part of the actual chapter. Inside the chapter folder are docs and folder. Docs are stand-alone ideas that don’t require more work and are most likely former folders that are “done”. The folders in my chapter are in process scenes. Basically a doc for a paragraph. But sometimes I use a very sub-doc focused method where I may have each sentence of a paragraph as a separate doc in a “sub-sub-folder”. I have been known to get very long sentences (part of how I write) broken into multiple files collected in a sub-sub-sub-folder. Sometimes i do this to separate ideas into multiple sentences, sometimes I use it to keep a character “sounding right” (think clauses in non-standard places to simulate english as a foreign language (where the native language is not of this world)), sometimes to add a feel of insanity, sometimes just to give Melville a run for his money.

I vote for creating chapter folders, then organizing your scenes into the correct folder. Put global chapter notes attached to the parent folder scenes in sub-folders/docs with notes/comments for attached to the respective items. And continue going deeper until we have the control you want.

Anyway… as I said, personal preference. Try different things until you find what “feels right” and gives you the results you want.

I also like the folder - document model, but it is mostly a personal preference. I like to see different looking icons in the binder for chapters and scenes, and it seems easier to me to wrap my head around different compile settings for folders and documents.

Whichever way you go, a shortcut to the methods you suggest is the Group and Merge functions. You can find these in the Documents menu pulldown, and see there whatever keyboard shortcuts they have. Much easier than drag and drop.

Select 2 or more documents in the Binder. Group will keep them as separate documents and put them in a new folder. The folder name is highlighted for you to rename, very easy.

Or select 2 or more documents in the Binder. Merge will take the text of all of them and create a single document, with the same title as the first document in the binder (reading top down). You don’t get any separators that I know of, though. so the texts are just mashed into one.

Dragging and dropping a document on top of another document will change the dropped-on document a group document which is basically a folder though it has text within itself; the document that gets dropped becomes a subordinate document.

You can also create those group documents, if you have your order of scenes just the way you want, by moving a document right from within the Binder using the keyboard shortcut Ctl-Command-RightArrow, which is a quicker method than dragging and dropping. The document so affected will become a subordinate doc of the document directly above it in the Binder.

I don’t see offhand where in the Manual all this is covered, but the Merge and Group are briefly explained in the Appendix A6 section.

  • asotir

Thanks Jayson. Personal Prefs but experience is always valuable and I respect it, so I’m reading your technique with great interest Thanks.
I am not wholly sure I understand your last sentence above … You said first that ‘a chapter is a folder’, then ‘The folders in my chapter are in process scenes’. Did I get that right ?

PS: Sorry about not coming back to this thread promptly. I forgot to subscribe and then got lost on my writing :confused:

asotir - thanks for that insight. I am getting very close to finishing my book now … 60,500 words and only struggling with tying up the loose ends (that’s the theory, maybe another 5,000 words). It looks like I will be doing a lot of test-compiling to see how things actually look, being a newb. That looks like the only route to confidently finding out how what I do about folders/chapters affects the final outcome.
I’ve written the whole thing in a way where each of my ~50 document represents a scene, or sometimes two or three short scenes. I have no idea yet if the number of chapters I chose will be low (5 or 6) or something like 12. Every book I read seems to vary wildly. I read one book last year that only had three chapters … I guess I will have to read through it at the end and try to get a feel for natural pauses etc.

While there’s no one right way to do this, and I do encourage experimenting with compile and finding a structure and settings you’re happy with, I will suggest that using folders as containers for the scenes might be your best option to start, vs. grouping documents under the initial scene of the chapter.

I may be misunderstanding what you’re describing, but my impression is that you have, say, scenes 1, 2, 3, and 4 and decide they all belong together in a chapter, so you could move 2, 3, and 4 to become subdocuments of 1. That’s a perfectly valid way of working, but it’s going to make it more difficult if you decide that 1 should actually be a prologue, and you then need to rearrange everything so that 2 is the initial scene of the chapter, with 3 and 4 its subdocuments, and 1 moved out somewhere else.

If instead you take the scenes 1-4 and put them all in a folder* (e.g. select them, then choose Documents > Group) then you can easily move scene 1 to somewhere else without needing to shuffle the rest of them.

  • You don’t need this to be a folder, per se; it could be just another blank document, since they can have subdocuments the same as folders. But the Group command is convenient and will create a folder, and folders will have different icons, as someone upthread pointed out, which can help your eye follow the structure. The point though is just to have the container as a separate document, not itself one of the scenes.

MimeticMouton - Thanks. Yes that’s what I mean. And yes I agree, moving a selection of the appropriate numbers of docs/scenes into a new ‘empty’ folder, representing a chapter container as it were, seems the best solution as a newb. I haven’t experimented yet but I gather than the name of the folder will become the title of the chapter.

By the way I am using iBooks as previewer to see how things turn out (No I haven’t experimented yet but I compiled ten or fifteen docs to give to my friend to see what he thought of the book, a week or two ago)

I also assume that I should make sure there is no space whatsoever at the end of each doc inside a chapter … to allow the compiling to deal with that gap.

Yes, it’s usually simplest to handle this via the Separators in compile, so you can control the divider between different documents, between a folder and the following document, etc. In compile Transformations you can also opt to “Remove trailing whitespace from documents” to tidy any extra blank lines you missed.

Thanks for that. I don’t want to divert the topic too much.
I’m getting excited about getting to the end of this my first book, now.
I have often been critical about authors and directors finishing weakly and
I am keen to avoid that.
One nice thing that would be so nice in scrivener is some kind of
Quik preview window where one could see what a chapter or two
Would look like after compiling.
Anyway … Back to writing …
(Messy formatting above due to iPhone view)

I write book-like things in chapters, not scenes, so that’s how I organize. Each chapter is a separate one-to-three word distinctly-named “document”, all in the Manuscript “folder.”

(Even when I’m just playing around with the germ of an idea of a scene – or even a line of dialog – I type it in a separate “chapter.” If I find it’s not as much in the line of the book as I’d thought, I’ll move it out of the manuscript folder into an “Unplaced Scenes” folder…that’s pretty much the only time I use the word “scenes.” I also have a folder for “Unplaced Dialog,” which gets depleted more often.)

Experiment to find what works best for you. Make it as complicated or as simple as you want. It may well be that one way of organization works best at the beginning, and another works best when you’re further along.

Scrivener is flexible enough that you can set it up however you want. And then you can change it as many times as you like!


Well, that would be a perfect proof of why I’m a computer dork and not a published author. The first level folders in drafts are chapters, second level folders are “scenes” third level are “fix the crap you wrote you moron” and things under that are “WTF am I doing here?” type things.

Hope that clears things up.

As to rapid replies… Just moved the family 1000mi. My responses (and actual checking of anything computerish) is lower priority than unpacking, setting up house, and … let’s be honest, shall we … fishing. Lots of the latter activity has created a certain apathy, unwillingness, heck, complete dislike of the need to sit at a desk. I won’t notice if you take a minute or a week to reply. I have serious issues to address that are taking all my very limited metal facilities right now. Issues like “how do redfish know not to take my bait?” and “if a bluefish eats a minnow and no other bluefish are there to witness it, does the bluefish make a sound?”

Yeah. I need help. Someone get nom.

Sounds more like you need the help of a hirsute guy with a welding torch! :smiling_imp:

Mr X

I told you… :unamused:

I’ll get the popcorn.

Try compiling small sections like a selection of documents, or maybe a chapter, instead of the entire project. This can give you a preview of what the finished output will be like without having to compile the whole thing over and over and again.

Oh, and remember to save your compile settings.

Think about the source… can mental be applicable with no head?

I can’t seem to do that… it resets every time I open it :unamused: Is there a tutorial on compiling settings ?

See 24.4 and following sections… … df#page346

Thanks BK… I see it is supposed to autosave … maybe because I was using customise it didn’t. So I have changed to the eBook preset for now and hopefully that will solve my issues.