Video: My System For Moving Edited Manuscript From DOCX Back to Scrivener

I’ve created a video that shows my semi-automated system from moving a manuscript from LibreOffice to Scrivener.

When I’ve completed a book, I send a special DOCX file to my editor. She makes changes, and I accept/reject each of those changes.

I have a macro that will successively move the scenes in the DOCX file back into Scrivener. All Synopses, Notes, etc. are preserved. The only thing that isn’t automated is my selection of the text in the scene (in LibreOffice).

Perhaps this will give the Scrivener developers or some other programmer the inspiration to make a better system that is totally automated.

Here it is:

youtu.be/neVyLoGrljM

Yet more cool ideas, Al. Your procrastination is our gain. :slight_smile:

Does Keyboard Maestro offer the ability to write looping logic and if/then type of statements?

Asking because it seems you’re soooo close to automating the entire import process, if you could somehow get KM to a) loop through your entire docx, hopping from scene to scene & copying the text, and b) skip the chapter docs on the Scrivener side.

But it seems your current process isn’t too cumbersome, so I guess whether further automation is worth exploring is dependent on how often you need to incorporate an entire novel’s worth of edits.

I am surprised that you don’t take snapshots of each scene prior to importing the text. Do you archive the project in some way prior to running the import?

Best,
Jim

Yes, Keyboard Maestro has looping, logic, etc.

When I was a programmer, I had a text editor with facilities that would have worked for this. Things like “set anchor point” and so on. I don’t know if LO has those things. There might be an RTF editor that could do that stuff.

But it seems your current process isn’t too cumbersome, so I guess whether further automation is worth exploring is dependent on how often you need to incorporate an entire novel’s worth of edits.
Yes, quite right. I’d spend more time perfecting the system than I waste by doing it semi-automatically for a few novels per year.

I am surprised that you don’t take snapshots of each scene prior to importing the text. Do you archive the project in some way prior to running the import?
Yes. I do a full backup with a special label just before starting this. Also, and more importantly, I do a Compare between the before and after DOCX files. That makes it pretty unlikely that I’d drop or double a scene, for example.

Would it preserve the bold & italics in the text?

Yes.

One of the biggest disadvantages of Scrivener over Word or LibreOffice is that an editor can’t make changes in your project that you can accept/reject unless he/she has Scrivener. Even if the editor uses Scrivener, there’s no ability to step through the changes and accept or reject each.

This disadvantage would go away if you could produce a DOCX file, make the changes, then reimport it.

Here’s how an automated system might work:

  1. You compile a special DOCX proof that has scene information that specifies the exact scene. Like mine, except that the identifiers would be unique for each scene. Something like “Scene: Bob Talks with Steve (ID: 78392) Do Not Modify This Line

  2. Your editor makes changes and you accept/reject them in the DOCX proof.

  3. Scrivener has a special Import Changed DOCX function. It will start by checking for consistency—that is, make sure no screen identifiers have changed, no scenes have been deleted or added, no changes in file structure have been made, etc.

  4. It replaces the scene text for each scene based on the identifiers, in the same way that my macro does it.

As noted in my recent post, Word docs have two interesting features that would be helpful for a round trip with an editor:

  1. the ability to embed hidden text, and

  2. the ability to lock Track Changes ON.

This means special ID markers can be hidden and protected from actual deletion or other monkeying that would mess up a re-import function into Scriv.

Cf.
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