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Any good Scrivener books out there?

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Posted by Larry Kollar
Oct 13, 2016 at 01:59 PM


I use Scrivener all the time, but mostly for writing fiction. I never looked at the third-party books out there—I just dived in and started trying different things—but here’s a couple things that might help. Note that I’m using the Mac version; the Windows version has a little catching-up to do, so some of these features might not be there.

Since you said you start with an outline, you can use the Binder as an outliner. While folders are analogous to chapters, the only real difference between a folder and a text document (scene, in my case) is the icon. You can put text in a folder document, and you can nest text documents under other text documents. There are three different icons in the “Group View” cluster in the ribbon, left to right:

* Scrivenings—this is my personal favorite, it shows the content of the document you selected in the Binder (the outline on the left side of the window) and all its subdocuments. If you want to search & replace across more than one document at a time, you want to be in this view.

* Corkboard—if you prefer a freeform way of viewing and arranging your content, this is the view for you. It shows each document as an index card. If you have any information in the Synopsis for each document, the cards display that information. Personally, I think it works best at the chapter level, or if you don’t use chapters (folders) in your projects.

* Outline—this is new, and it’s very cool. It shows each document under the selected document (select Manuscript or whatever your top-level document is called to see the whole thing). Each document’s synopsis appears in fine print under the document name, and you can update metadata for each document in this view (something I’ve wanted for a while). I’ve been using Tines to outline new books, then importing the outline into Scrivener, but I might try this for the next project. There’s a little “v” at the right side of the headliner that lets you select what metadata you want to see in this view. Like I said, very cool.

Collections is another feature that you might find useful. A collection lets you select a subset of the documents in your project and arrange them any way you like. You can compile a collection just like you would the entire project, so (for example) if you have reviewers who are interested only in parts of your project, you can send them only the parts they want to look at. This would also be useful for maintaining technical documentation; you could have a “new features” collection for a new release consisting of documents that you pick out of the main project.

Oh, and don’t forget to explore the templates (when you create a new project). One or more might be a good start for your own project.