Thanks to everyone’s hand-holding the other day, I am now a registered Scrivener guy and am delighted with all I’ve been able to accomplish so far. Thank you!
I do seem to be a major dummy, however, when it comes to understanding folders. I imported two ongoing projects the other day (admittedly before doing the tutorial) and seem to have unwittingly created three different flavors of folders.
For Project A, I duplicated chapter folders from the novel template and individually imported draft chapters into them. When I click on the folder I see “CHAPTER <$W> Chapter Subtitle” inside. If I select corkboard I can see the imported chapter and all related files inside.
For Project B, I imported my existing chapters en masse and converted them into folders, to which I subsequently added scenes and related drafts. Here, if I click on the folder I see my original draft chapter. The corkboard shows only the subfiles, as the chapter is the folder itself.
I also have some folders created with the “+ folder” button that seem to be just regular old folders of the plain vanilla variety. (These show no doc icon associated with them.) When I click on the folder I see a blank page. At the corkboard I see all content files.
Please help me understand the differences between what I’m seeing, and which I should ideally be using.
What you are seeing is the flexibility of Scrivener’s folder and document system. Unlike the Finder, or many other applications for that matter, when working in the Binder itself there is functionally very little difference between folders and documents. You can place text into folders, as you’ve already noted, and you can even place documents beneath other documents (which will create a document stack icon). To add or remove text from a folder, just reveal the editor screen for it and treat it like an ordinary document. The icon will update appropriately depending on what you do—it is meant to be an indicator to let you know a folder has text in it (since often that information can become obscured by the default Corkboard or Outliner view).
For more information on how this works, and how it can be useful down the road during Compile, read this FAQ answer.
While it represents a learning curve, since it is unorthodox, this system allows maximum flexibility while brainstorming. Unlike other applications, you needn’t worry about the type of anything while building out your outline. You can always throw stuff beneath other items regardless of its type, and once things settle down you can use the convert to folder/document tool you’ve already discovered to standardise everything to taste.
Folders and documents aren’t different formats in Scrivener. They’re the same thing. They just have the ability to be tagged to act differently from each other.
For example, “documents”, when clicked, open in the text editor, and “folders”, when clicked, open in corkboard view.
They can also be independently processed in “Compile Draft”, so you can have all the titles of your documents included without including those of the folders, or all of the document text in your final and not the folder text.
If you’re familiar with CSS, it may help to think of the folder/document distinction as two separate div classes with the same background and font settings, but the headers and bodies of each div can be hidden/displayed as a class.