So, after my last post, you’ve played with Scrivener and now you’re an expert in folders and text sections, right?
Good. Because now we can stop messing about and get into the stuff that makes Scrivener better than anything else.
Lets jump straight in. Here (as they used to say on Blue Peter), is one I prepared earlier.
Hey, this has a bit more going on than in the blank example from your previous post.
Yeah, it has more in it. In this example I’ve filled in some meta-data.
Metadata? You mean stuff like the density of Iron?
Er, no. That would be Metal Data, data about metals. This is metadata, data about data.
Right, like the density of Iron?
No, and will give up with this Iron fixation?
But you need iron.
True, but would you like a crowbar around the head?
Er, ok. But what’s my data?
It’s the folders and text sections that make up your manuscript.
Let’s have a look and the right hand (white) section above. It has details about each of the folders and text sections. It’s like a combination between an outliner and a spreadsheet.
There are a bunch of columns that Scrivener sets up itself (Label and Status for example). What goes in these columns is up to you.
Er, how? When I click on items in that column I get a pop-up list.
Yes, but at the bottom of that list is an option “Edit.” No prizes for guessing what it does.
It brings up the screen below, right?
Right. And stop reading ahead, eh?
On this screen you can add (+) or delete (-) items that appear in the drop down list.
So with all that capability, all you could come up with is Rev 1 and Rev 2?
Works for me.
What are you up to?
Wait … wait … There. New Stuff, Better Stuff and You’re the dude!
And that makes sense to you does it?
At least as much as boxes of washing powder labelled Family, Giant and Economy. I mean, which size is which?
You have a point. Ah, yes, you’re the dude.
Where was I? Oh, yes.
There are many other built in columns. Total Words, for example, is an optional one I selected. It gives the number of words in a text section, or, for a folder, the total of the words in all the folder’s text sections.
Useful if I want to know how many words I’ve got in each Act, then?
You can also set up columns with titles of your own choosing. Again they contain metadata.
Ah, I knew the density of Iron of Iron would come into it somewhere.
No, and you really have to give up with this Iron fixation.
But I like iron.
Ok. *shuffles paper* Let me see. Ah, the density of iron, 7.874 g per cubic cm at room temperature. Feel better now?
Cool. Did you look it up on the internet?
No. The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics by the Chemical Rubber Company.
Sounds very chemical.
Shocking isn’t it? In the rest of the world it’s known as the “rubber handbook,” because of it’s authors. Strangely, that name hasn’t caught on in the US.
Ok, time to get back to the plot.
Say you write a chapter and want to keep some additional notes with the chapter. You don’t want them in the manuscript, but you want to keep them with the chapter. The notes are metadata. Data you want kept with the chapter but not in the chapter.
For instance, the items (columns) People@end, Reveal and Weapons@end columns are pieces of information I wanted to keep for each chapter.
In the context of the outline it helps to be able to record the items or events that are unique to your story. The example is a story set in WW1, so knowing what weapons the characters have is important. In a romance, you might want to keep track of how many pinning-for-Miss-Right letters the hero has written. Not that you’d write something like that would you? Good, keep that for the therapy sessions (he does -ed).
These metadata columns are set up through the menu, Project / Mata-Data settings / Custom Metadata, as below.
Click on the + and you can enter new metadata fields and name them whatever’s appropriate. You can even have them in a different color (but I don’t think that will in any way help you on your way to a Pulitzer).
Since the “+” button adds a new metadata field, I’m going to leave it to your finely tuned imagination to work out what the “–” button does.
Come on Nigel, I can do that with a spreadsheet.
Sure. Everything that Scrivener does can be replicated by some combination of tools, programming languages and scripts. Most of the works ever written were done without a computer. Scrivener makes it easier. Everything is in one coherent place.
I suppose. Do I get anything else for my 45 smackers?
Yeah. Lots to go. Keep reading. Oh, and stop saying smackers, its confusing the cosmopolitain audience.
Let’s say you’re a devotee of the three-act structure (and it should at least be one of your first choices, unless you’re already a multi-platinum selling author living on your own private island). You can set up your folders as Act1, Act 2 and Act 3, but they’re not the greatest thing to inspire creativity are they? So go to the menu and click, View / Corkboard. Here’s an example
These electronic cards can be edited. You can type, double click, and drag and drop to your hearts content. Yeah, they’re not quite as flexible as a piece of paper, but they’re a better way of keeping track once you’ve got a clue what your epic is going to be about (for which, pieces of paper are way better than anything computerized).
Double clicking on the icon next to “Act 1” and it opens up (wait for it) the Act 1 stack of cards (aka folder, it’s the same thing, just being presented in a different manner). Double click on “The Mathematician Cryptographer” and you open up its text section.
Hang on, hang on. What happened to all that stuff I typed in on those cards? You know, the metal data.
Ignoring your unhealthy element fixation, that’s a good question, and easily answered. Click the Inspector button (toolbar, top right)
and all will be revealed (as shown below)
Now you’ve got your top-level summary of the section right beside you when you write that section. Makes it easier to stay on track.
And if you’re going to bash out 100k words, staying on track helps.
So, give it a go. Download the demo, try it out, and ask questions. Let us know how you get on.