Unfamiliar with 'scenes' concept, specifically in Scriviner

I copied over a MS from goodle docs as a document. I started a chapter folder and broke the frst chapter into scenes 1,2-7 where it made sense. I’m not sure I am using the concept of scenes appropriately. Will it bite me in the butt when it comes to assembly into a final form?

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This is probably something you could get a feel for by working through the Interactive Tutorial in the Help menu, which demonstrates one thing implicitly: that Scrivener isn’t a novel writing program, and that its binder sidebar can be used to organise non-fiction just as well (in this case, the tutorial). But it will also demonstrate some overt concepts as well, such as how this sidebar outline can be used to organise the text logically, with sub-topics nested into topics, and so on. It will then also cover exporting, or compiling, and how that logical structure can be stylised as concepts such as “chapters” and “scenes”, or “subsections” and “glossaries” as the case may be.

So within that innate flexibility is your answer: use the outline to suit how you think about your text—that might have nothing to do with how that looks to your readers in the end. You might have a particularly complex scene broken down into five nested “sub-scenes” if you want, why not? And in the same book, a short chapter that is nothing but a single entry in the outline. Why not?

Scrivener isn’t demanding you conform to how it works, because that’s the not the kind of program it is. You’re going to be telling it how you work. So again, put aside some time to go through the tutorial now and then, it doesn’t have to be all at once. The section on compiling will show you how you can take an outline, like the tutorial has, and turn it into something. Once you learn that, you’ll know how to adapt the compile settings to your working preferences.

For now though, the main thing to take away from this is to not worry about it right now. Just focus on the writing, and use the nesting in the sidebar to make your writings easier to jump around in and understand. Use names that mean something to you. The binder is all about making your life easier, which is the big difference between it and programs like word processors such as what you came from, where its navigation is based on the actual headings your readers will see.


thank you for your response, I did go through the tutorial, I must have missed some of the concepts. I will go through it again.

In the classical sense, A scene is a section of a story that changes Point of View, Setting, or Timeframe from the previous text.
So, a sentence starting with “The next morning…”, or "Meanwhile at the castle…"would be reason to break up the manuscript in two scenes. Also when a story is told by different characters, changing scenes is advised when another perspective starts to prevent what’s called “head hopping”.


It could, because your scenes may get a specific Section Type, which, coupled with a Section Layout, determines Formatting in the Compiled document. Make sure to assign the Sections the Section Type of “Scene”, and not “Chapter” or “Part” to prevent formatting issues when compiling.


Short answer: it’s your book. You get to define “appropriate.”

As noted, though, Scrivener’s built-in Compile Formats will act on items with the “Scene” Section Type. (Or items that it thinks should be scenes based on their location in the hierarchy.) You can change these default behaviors, but it’s good to know they exist.

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