Organizing Scrivener’s Binder, Part II

Why do I love the research folder so much? Because Scrivener allows you to import a chockful of file types among them: RTF, web pages, images, OPML, PDF, and videos

In this tutorial, a number of folders will be created that will include character and location templates, images, web pages, PDFs and even some video. First, a confession: I love templates and scour the interweb to download any I might find useful. If I can’t find exactly what I’m looking for I create my own.

In the Finder, I created a new folder titled Scrivener Templates and when I find one I like, I save it there. I recently stumbled upon a very detailed outlining template that was created two months ago by Caroline Norrington. I’m always looking for different ways to outline, structure, and plot so I thought I would give this one a try because I have a vague idea of what Under the Hazelnut Tree is about. I only know that it deals with the collective memory of the Spanish Civil War and  it’s a ghost story.

After I downloaded Caroline’s template on my desktop, here’s what I did:

1. Opened a new Scrivener Project

2. Selected the Fiction tab

3. Went to the footer where it says Options and selected Import Templates, which opens the Finder.

Now I have this new template and I want to see how it looks. I name it, save it, and WOW! It’s so detailed that it’s overwhelming, but she has templates and other items within the project that I want to use and can import into my own project. Here’s what it looks like:

Carol Norrington Template

Carol Norrington Template

To import the entire project template, go to File->Import->Scrivener Project.

Importing a Scrivener Project

Importing a Scrivener Project

The Finder window will open, find the project in your files, and hit import. Once it loads, the entire file will be located under the Trash Can.

I’m interested in in the Template Sheets she designed, which are moved into my Research Folder. I’ll also keep Sample Ouput which includes PDFs on how the manuscript should look after it’s formatted as text, as  a paperback, and an image of an ebook. And I’ll move Writing Tasklist, which includes the Snowflake Method and the 31-Day Method. The rest, I trash.

A few things to note: First, I couldn’t import this project template into my Windows Notebook, using Scrivener for Windows. I’m running Windows 7 and it’s been very glitchy for a long time.  Second, when I imported the project all icons were intact (this is for the Mac version) The Template Sheets weren’t formatted as templates, but to do that go to Project->Set Selection as Templates Folder (This option is only for the Mac version; for Windows, you can save each of the docs as templates. Go to File->Save as Template). 

I’m interested importing files from webpages and PDFs that relate to the Spanish Civil War and the Abraham Lincoln Battalion. So I am creating in the Research section two folders titled SCW and ALB, respectively. To import a web page, go to File->Import->Web Page.

Now that I’ve imported a few pages, I’d like to import some documentaries from YouTube, using the same process. One thing to note, if you download the video from YouTube, it immediately works, but if you want to view it at a later date, sometimes an error message appears. Not to worry because at the foot of the editor, you’ll see the linked URL appears. Click on that and it will take you directly to YouTube.

The last import will include some images that are either in my files or on the web. Again, I use the same process as above. Finally this is how the research section of the binder looks:

Research Section of Binder

Research Section of Binder

You may have noticed that I have different types of icons representing characters and setting. For Mac users only: To change folders into icons, go to the action menu, select Change Icon and from the submenu choose whichever icon that appeals to you.

Changing Icons

Changing Icons

Next time we get some writing done with the Editor and learn more about its nifty features.

Organizing Scrivener’s Binder Part 1

I’m splitting this tutorial in two parts because there is much to cover. Part I will focus on everything below the draft icon until the Research section, which will be Part II.

The binder is Scrivener’s project management system with three root folders: The Draft Folder for the actual written work, the Research Folder for all the research files and templates that are relevant to your WIP, and the Trash bin for everything you decide to delete. These three root folders cannot be deleted or moved, but you can add your own folders at this level.

Let’s first take a look at the Draft part of the Binder.  You can rename the Draft icon by double clicking it, and type in whatever you’re calling your writing project. To create folders with in the Draft folder, you have several options:

1. Go to the menubar and click on Project->New Folder

Creating a Folder via the Project Menu

Creating a Folder via the Project Menu

2. Go to the footer of the Binder and click on the Folder+ icon.

Folder icon in footer bar of Binder

Folder icon in footer bar of Binder

3. Next to Folder+ icon at the footer, click on the gear wheel or action menu. Go to Add-> New Folder.

Creating a New Folder from the Action Menu

Creating a New Folder from the Action Menu

4. On the toolbar click and hold the green icon with the plus sign and select New Folder.

Creating a New Folder Using the Green Plus Icon in the Toolbar

Creating a New Folder Using the Green Plus Icon in the Toolbar

Because this is a new story, I’m adding a total of three folders. For folder number one, I’m labeling it as Part One and I follow the same process with folders two and three. The next step is to add text files. You follow the same exact steps as above, but this time select New Text (with the exception of the footer bar, click on  + icon for New Text). Once I have all my text files, I drag and drop them into their respective folders. This is how my binder looks:

Binder with Folders and Text Files

Binder with Folders and Text Files

To move a text file into the folders. I select it and drag  and drop it into the folder. To select several files, I hold down my shift key, select the files I want, drag and drop them into the folder. But, let’s say have some scenes/chapters that I may not want to use, yet still want to keep. I can create another folder at the root level by right clicking the empty area of the Binder below the Trash can. The action menu appears, select new folder, label it, and hit Enter.

Now I have this new folder for unused scenes and I have several scenes in each of the folders that I want to group and move to Unused Scenes. To select these files, hit Cmd-click (Ctrl-click in Windows). You can drag them to the folder, or go to the action menu and select Move To. A submenu will open that lists the Unused Scenes folder. Click on that and the files will be moved to that folder.

Grouping and Moving Files

Grouping and Moving Files

But what if you have a couple of scenes written in a Word document? Can the document be imported? Yes! You can either drag the document from the directory directly to your folder or you can go to File->Import->Files.

Importing Files into the Binder

Importing Files into the Binder

A couple of things to note: if you have a document with footnotes and images in the document, save it as an RTF file so that it imports the document with all the preserved footnotes and images. If the document is saved as a .docx and imported as such it will import the text, but won’t properly import the footnotes, comments or images. Keep in mind that if you have complex files, save them first as RTFs and then you can import them into Scrivener without losing those elements.

Next time, I’ll go through the Research folder of the Binder.

Customizing Your Scrivener Workspace

Before I settle down to write I like to make my workspace as comfortable as possible. In the physical world, my desk is positioned where I have a view of the front yard and I can see Lola the Lab sitting a few feet away from the front porch or on the hill with the big pine tree. On my desk, I have my reference books within reach, and the laptop sits on a tilted platform.

Because I use Scrivener for all my writing projects, I’ve customized how it looks. As I mentioned in The Story Behind the Tutorials, I created a project named the File Cabinet where all my projects are filed within this one big project. Works great. No more digging around the Finder or Windows Explorer for those multiple files. In a future tutorial, I’ll show how you can change color-code folders, import icons, change the icons, but for now this tutorial will address some of the very basics.

I’ve heard from numerous users that they find the workspace distracting and too busy. What many people don’t realize is the Binder can be hidden as well as the inspector.  Just click on the Binder icon on the toolbar, and voila! It’s gone. Ditto with the Inspector.

Hiding the Binder: Click on the Binder Icon

Hiding the Binder: Click on the Binder Icon

So now you’re left with the Editor and you can write without any distraction. But what if you want the expansive bright white space to be a more soothing color?

The Editor with the Binder and Inspector Hidden

The Editor with the Binder and Inspector Hidden

For Mac users, go to the menu bar and click on Scrivener, the drop menu will appear and hit Preferences (Cmd-,); Windows users go to Tools, Options (F12).

Scrivener Menu

Scrivener Menu

A window will open to General preferences. You’ll notice the tabs that correspond to all the different features.

Scrivener Preferences: General

Scrivener Preferences: General

To change the color of the Editor click the Appearance icon and at the bottom, you’ll see Customizable Colors.

Scrivener Preference: Appearance

Scrivener Preference: Appearance

The list provides a number of Scrivener features that can be changed. For this example, we’ll focus on the Editor. From the list on the left, select Editor->Text Background and click the small window pane that indicates the color. A dialog box with all the color swatches will appear. From there you can select  the color that you like best for your writing space.

Changing the Editor's Text Background

Changing the Editor’s Text Background

If don’t want a color, but a texture (you can actually download 149 textures from http://www.demilked.com/free-paper-textures-backgrounds). Hit Choose Texture and select the one you like that’s saved in your files.

Above Customizable Colors, you can change the fonts of the Binder, the Outliner title, and the Synopsis. Folders titles and document groups can be bolded in the Binder, as well as titles in the Outliner.

At the very top, you can add lines to the document and project notes feature found in the Inspector, add both horizontal and vertical grid lines to the Outliner, and select the source list (this is the highlight tool used in the binder when selecting a document. When the source list style is selected, the color is the same as in the Finder—an aqua color or the theme used in Windows, when it’s unchecked, it’s a silvery color).

Next time, we explore the Binder, Scrivener’s file management system.

Getting Familiar with Scrivener’s Interface and Workspace

Once you’ve created a project, the next step is to get familiar with Scrivener’s interface. In this tutorial, we’ll review the menu and tool bars, the Binder, Editor, and Inspector.

The menu bar runs across the top of the window. Each menu has its set of commands and sub-menus.

Scrivener Menu Bar

Scrivener Menu Bar

Below the Menu bar is the Toolbar. On top, dead center is the project name and directly below is a row of pretty and colorful icons. These default icons are the ones most commonly used. Hover your mouse pointer over an icon and a small yellow text box appears describing the icon’s function.

Tool Bar

Scrivener Tool Bar

One of the many neat functions of Scrivener is that you can customize them. To change the Toolbar go to View->Customize Toolbar. A new window will open and you’ll be able to switchout the buttons by dragging them into the default toolbar, or directly to the tool bar. You can also turn on and off the text below the icons and make them smaller.

Icons to Customize Toolbar

Icons to Customize Toolbar

The Binder’s function is similar to the Finder or Windows Explorer. This is where all your folders and text documents are located in an easy-to-find manner. This area is solely for text documents. Beneath the Draft icon, you’ll create and file all your documents. I like to think of the Binder as an actual three-ring binder where I’ll have my dividers (folders) for each scene or chapter and the loose-leaf paper (text documents) neatly kept. And just like a three-ring binder, I can move and arrange my documents in any type of order.

Within the Binder is the Research folder where I can store more than text files. Here I can import website pages, PDFs, photos, and even .wav and MP4 files. I can create sub-folders for brainstorming, mind-mapping, characters, locations, and any specific topic that is relevant to my current project. Like the Draft section, I can move folders around and arrange them in any way I like. Finally, right below is the iconic rubbish bin where I can trash whatever I don’t find necessary.

Scrivener's Binder

Scrivener’s Binder

Right clunk in the center is the area that is called the Editor. This is where you’ll be doing the majority of your writing. Like a word processor, the Editor has it’s own formatting toolbar. If you want a ruler as a guide, go to the menu bar and select Format-> Show Ruler. To hide it, follow the same steps, but this time the command will say Hide Ruler.

The Editor and its Formatting Tool bar

The Editor and its Formatting Tool bar

Within this area, you’ll discover that you can have different views: the Corkboard and index cards, Scrivnings (when multiple files are selected) and the Outliner.

To the right of the Editor is the Inspector. This section displays the nitty-gritty information of your work, also known as metadata. The Inspector displays the Synopsis, a section where you can type a brief summary of your scene, you can insert an image, or anything that describes the chapter or scene. The middle area called General allows to add or edit custom names for both the label and status. For example, for Label, if you’re writing a novel with multiple points of view, you might want to assign each chapter with a different POV and color code it, which will be reflected in the Binder, Corkboard, and Outliner. The last third portion of the Inspector, Doucument Notes, is another section where you can write notes, brainstorm, or paste notes from elsewhere.

The three Faces of the Inspector: Synopsis; Meta-Data, and Notes

The three Faces of the Inspector: Synopsis; General, and Notes

Each of these sections can be customized. The next tutorial will focus in getting your workspace to accomodate the way you write.

Starting a New Project in Scrivener

You’ve downloaded Scrivener to give it a trial spin or you simply cut to the chase and purchased it. Now you’re chomping at the bit, ready to get set and write! But not so fast, let’s just go over the very basics opening the program and creating a project.

Your first obvious action will be to click on the Scrivener icon that was downloaded. Once the program opens, you’ll see the Project Templates window. The first tab on top  is the Getting Started section that includes an interactive tutorial, which was created by the folks at Literature and Latte, the User Manual, and instructional video that can be viewed on YouTube.

Project Templates: Getting Started

Project Templates: Getting Started

Below the “Getting Started,” you’ll see the different categories and templates. Point your curser on each category, click your mouse, and you’ll see the different types of templates that Scrivener provides. Below is the Fiction category and its associated templates.

Project Template: Fiction, Novel

Project Template: Fiction, Novel

Once you’ve selected the category and the template, you’ll see right below in a window pane the description of the template. In this case, “Novel” has been highlighted, and we see that it uses a standard submission format and includes location and character sketch sheets.

For the purpose of this tutorial, I am selecting the blank category and template because I want to create my own settings.

Project Templates: Blank, Blank

Project Templates: Blank, Blank

Select “Choose.” A window will appear. In the Save As field, you will name your project. I named mine “Under the Hazelnut Tree.” If you are on a Mac and recently downloaded Mavericks, you have the option of including tags. I typed in “Scrivener Tutorial” and “Short Story” In the Where field from the dropdown menu, select where you want this file to be saved. I chose my desktop.

Saving Project on to Desktop

Saving Project onto Desktop

If a certain location where you want to save your project isn’t listed, don’t worry. Just click on the expansion arrow to the right of Save As, select the new location from the list of folders on the left. For Window users: click Browse in the New Project window to choose a location. Hit Create, and your project will open to your new writing workspace.

Saving to another location using the expansion button.

Saving to another location using the expansion button.

 

To see how this all works, you can watch this video:

Next time I’ll go over the Scrivener interface, which includes the menu bar, the tool bar, the Binder, the Editor, and the Inspector.

 

A New Generation of Scrivener Users

Scrivener: The Infinite Desk. Image courtesy of Literature and Latte.

After tomorrow’s big feast, many NANOWRIMO participants will loosen the buttons on their jeans and drag themselves back to their desks to write that day’s allotment of 1,667 words. If all goes well, by November 30, 2013 at 11:59 PM, many writers will have completed their 50,000 word draft. Just as Literature and Latte* has done in previous years, the company is offering all NANOWRIMO winners the opportunity to purchase Scrivener for only 50% off its regular price for both the Mac and Windows version. This is a terrific offer. Get it. Believe me, it will change your writing life.

For writers who downloaded the program and only used the very basics (essentially pantsing in the Editor) and now want to learn more than just typing in a wide white space, you’ve come to the right place. If you haven’t downloaded the 30 day trial (and it’s actually not 30 straight calendar days, but 30 days of actual use) and want to get a better handle of how to use the program from someone who uses it on a daily basis, you’ve also come to the right spot.

My goal with this blog is to be your point of reference when you get stuck, frustrated, or simply can’t figure out how to use one of its many features. I’ll start with the very basics from opening the program, selecting the right template, and reviewing the main features of Scrivener to more sophisticated features that include collections, snapshots, metadata, syncing with other programs like Dropbox and teaching how to format and compile your future best-selling novel.

My tutorials are detailed and I provide many images so you can see everything step-by-step. For those who rather watch than read long tutorials, I’ll have videos for you to view. So my work is cut out—a lot of writing and filming, but working in Scrivener and teaching others how to get the most out of it is a lot of fun.

Stay tuned because on December 1, we start the first of many tutorials.

*Note: I’d like to thank David at Literature and Latte for use of the Scrivener Tile logo and images in the header of this blog. I think it looks kinda pretty.