A common anxiety I’ve noticed among my Scrivener students and training clients is over whether they have their project set up “right.”
So, I’m going on the record: There is no right or wrong way to set it up. Scrivener flexes for whatever structure makes sense to you and works with your process.
Keeping It Simple
For example, during my drafting phase, I generally write all of my scenes one after the other without putting them in folders (though I usually add the title page and other front matter items shown below later). If you write in chapters rather than scenes, you could follow a similar method.
If you like to storyboard, I would skip the folders until you’re happy with the structure/order of scenes, so you can see the entire manuscript on the Corkboard.
Once the draft is done and clean enough to send to my content editor, I group the scene documents into chapter folders based on where I think the best ending hooks are, while attempting to balance the word count among chapters.
If you have a plotting method that requires it, you can add in chapter and/or part folders right from the start to keep everything organized as you go. In the past, I’ve started with empty part folders and added each new scene into the appropriate folder to keep the story structure loosely visible, and then grouped the scenes into chapters later.
That said, no matter what setup you choose for your drafting phase, there are some things you can do to make your life easier when it comes time to compile (export) your manuscript.
If You Remember Nothing Else…
There are two key things to understand about the Binder. *insert foot stomping here*
1. Files in the Draft folder (aka Manuscript, Screenplay, etc) will be one of three types: text document, file group, or folder. (Images, PDFs, and other non-text type files must be stored outside of the Draft folder.) Here’s an explanation of each.
– Text Document: A file where you write the text of your manuscript or keep notes on your work. Used to break the manuscript into logical scenes or sections (or for individual parts like blog posts, articles, and reports).
– File Group: A text document that contains other text documents, much like a folder, but not treated as a Chapter or Part during the compile process. Useful for organizing a manuscript or chapter into sections with section headings. If you remove all of the documents from a file group, it reverts to a standard document.
– Folder: A container for documents and other folders. Works like a document—and can have text in it like a document (e.g. for an epigraph or dateline)—but is usually treated like a chapter or part during the compile process (e.g. for titling purposes). A folder helps you visually organize your work and supporting materials. Even when empty, a folder is still a folder.
Below are the icons for each type of file. [Read more…]