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Reflexive outlining with several outliners

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Posted by Dr Andus
Oct 19, 2011 at 06:47 PM


Alexander Deliyannis wrote:

>- Is there a non-manual way to transfer the outline
>from Scrivener to Bonsai; e.g. as tab-indented text, OPML or whatever?

There are some ways to import and export for both (mostly as text or RTF) but I haven’t tried that and I’m not sure how convenient that would be.

As I’m constructing an outline from scratch, there is nothing to import or export for me. I’m using simple copy and paste between Scrivener, Bonsai and Storybook back and forth to build my outline incrementally and keep them up-to-date. I’m focused on maximising creativity right now, and I’m finding that creativity is helped by being able to distill the messy planning process in Scrivener into a distilled logical outline in Bonsai and a big picture outline in Storybook. Scrivener provides a meso-view (of index card chunks of text), Bonsai provides the micro-view of a logical outline of each idea (which will probably become topic sentences of paragraphs), and Storybook provides the macro-view of the book as a whole.

>- Can you
>explain how you construct the _outline_ in Storybook? With the Stoybook info types I
>would expect that you can get 3-4 levels max, i.e. parts, chapters and scenes, plus the
>parallel strands, is this enough for you?

It’s basically a process of distillation. I come up with some text and structure in Scrivener, I distill it into an idea-by-idea logical outline in Bonsai, and then I zoom out and reconstruct the overall big picture view in Storybook. So the Storybook outline is a very chunky one where each “scene” represents a section in the chapter (a “document” or index card in Scrivener). The main benefits of Storybook so far are 1) the ability to split the “scenes” (Scrivener index card titles) into “strands” and view them side-by-side (I have 3 right now), which is not possible in Scrivener, as it can only display them linearly (one index card after the other). This allows for visualising the complexity of the text better, by making various plot-lines visible. 2) The “Manage chapters and scenes” view is very helpful to see the chapters side by side, while each of them displays all the scenes (which in Scrivener is not possible because it only displays top level index cards, as opposed to index cards contained within index cards, or scenes within scenes). This view also shows the colour coding for the strands, which is also very nice.