Worst of times, best of times, etc

I’m currently working on a nonfiction book proposal. If you’ve been through this process, you know it is one of the lowest circles of writing hell. You have no idea whether you’ll ever get paid. Much of it consists of marketing-speak. The revisions are never-ending.

Luckily, I have Scrivener. I won’t say that Scrivener makes the BP process fun, but if I had to do it in Word, I would have given up by now. Let me share one example.

The most painful part of the BP, for me, is the annotated Table of Contents. This is what it sounds like, a list of every chapter in the proposed book along with a summary paragraph for each. Mine has been through at least ten revisions so far–gaining and losing chapters, changing order and organization. It’s still a total construction site, with many welding accidents yet to come.

Originally I had the whole annotated TOC in one document, and I was doing a lot of cutting and pasting. Then I realized there was a better way. I split the big document into one doc for each chapter, using Split at Selection. (Later I realized I could have used Split with Selection as Title. Oops.) Then I stuffed all these one-paragraph documents into a folder and brought it up in outline view. Now I can tinker with the TOC all day with no cut and paste. (This reminds me of a question: is there a quick way to go from an outline entry to the corresponding document?) I still hope I never see the damn table of contents again, but now I anticipate the many remaining edits with mere dread instead of existential dread.

Anyway, if the book sells (a big “if”), Keith gets a big shout-out in the acknowledgments. If it doesn’t sell, I guess he still gets $35.

Yes, with the item selected in either Corkboard or Outliner view, press Cmd-Option-O to open it. Or, if you wish to leave the Outliner open and work in another split, you can use Cmd-Shift-O to open in Alternate.

On another note: You might already be working this way, but you might consider moving your annotations to the Synopsis card. That way, as you move from proposal to writing, you can begin to develop your book right in the existing structure. If you ever need just the titles and annotations again, you can set up an export that only selects Titles and Synopsis without any Text.

I did think about that but couldn’t see the advantage. Now I do. Except: How do I print the synopses of that section but not of any other section?

Now that’s optimism.

I am not precisely sure what you mean, but I think all you would have to do is go to the same exporter with titles and synopsis set as content, but this time in the top left drop-down, select only the branch you wish to deal with, and press Print instead of Export.

I try. :slight_smile: