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Thoughts on Scrivener for bulk import

luthierwnc

Dreamer
Hello and thanks for looking.

This is long second post but it describes where the skid-marks stop. By way of background; I am an amateur fiction writer who started four years ago. The plan was to write a short fan-fic story based on a 35 second clip of the LOTR extended DVD – something to do on a rainy weekend. It ended-up being six novels long – almost 900k words. It’s rough but if you’re interested; Nag Kath - Gelansor - The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien [Archive of Our Own]

I just wrapped the first draft of an original fantasy work (with apologies to Glen Cook) that is merely 225k words. The plan is to let it simmer for a month or two then come at it with fresher eyes. The beginning and end work but the middle is a mess – lots of good parts but clunky flow. I need to chop at least a year out of a ten-year story arc to keep dramatic tension. There might be another year hiding if I can reduce downtime in the winters of my created world. Some darlings need to be murdered. In the down time I plan to bone-up on punctuation and grammar.

I’m writing to ask about computer platforms. Everything I’ve done so far is either on MS Word 2003 or 2007 and saved as a .doc file. Windows 10. For the first set of books that worked but with the cutting and pasting I’ll need for the current piece I’m taking a serious look at Scrivener. In Word for both series I started the chapter titles with a capital letter followed by a number to keep track. Later versions have a ‘2’ or ‘3’ starting designation in their own folder.

In an hour of research I haven’t found the definitive ‘here’s how to bulk transfer 63 chapters’ so I’m guessing moving them manually by the chapter will be faster in the long run.

Any ideas would help on wrestling a first draft over to the other processor and how you tag elements for the order they must appear.

Thanks and cheers, Skip
 
Yikes. Ummm, I tend to start in Scrivener and move from there, so I've never tried to bulk transfer.

That said! I just did a simple Import of 10 files into a Scrivener file with docx documents with no issue, except the order was a tad off. Once in, they're drag and drop to straighten out.

EDIT: this could vary on platforms, this was a Macbook, and I know my iPad can do things differently.
 

pmmg

Myth Weaver
I write in notepad and word. I use Scrivener for some of its other features. I have most of my notes in it, and some labels to visually see stuff.

I do in fact just manually cut and past from word into scrivener. 63 chapters is nothing. I would do that in an evening at most.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
Why not just try it and see how it works?

If it seems to be an utter mess, you could join the forum over at Literature and Latte. Lots of experienced (and clever) folks there.

At a guess, I'd say it would be best if the source were 63 separate files. If it's all one file, it would be best if you had used Styles to separate the chapters (sections or maybe just headings). If it's all undifferentiated text, probably the cut-and-paste approach would be best, though even there you should be aware of how to use some of Scrivener's features in a way to minimize headaches when you come to Compile.

For myself, I chose not to take my WIP into Scrivener but to finish it in Word. Then I started my *next* book in Scrivener and learned the outs and ins. Something about streams and horses.
 

luthierwnc

Dreamer
Thanks gents. Probably looking at a scratch rewrite but still have to get surviving events in the right order. Cheers, sh
 
Haven't used Scrivener, but I have used Atticus, which is more or less the same thing. Importing there is similar to Demesnedenoir 's experience. Just upload the thing and let it sort everything out.

One thing I do, which I think helps a lot with these kinds of imports is to use the Word text styles to mark chapters. So when starting a new chapter, I don't manually increase the font and make it bold and add a number. I just select the "Header 1" style for the chapter heading. This makes it very easy for other programs to recognize your different sections in Word.

Of course, if it doesn't work out, just bite the bullet and manually move everything over. But I'd first try just importing it.
 

luthierwnc

Dreamer
Thanks Prince of Spires. Formatting is still a work in progress. In the past I haven't put titles on the top of the first chapter page until much closer to the end. I do save them in the folder with a working title preceded by the number/letter code to get the order right. As often as not, the working chapter title is to remember what's in there rather than being dramatic and catchy. sh
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
Thanks Prince of Spires. Formatting is still a work in progress. In the past I haven't put titles on the top of the first chapter page until much closer to the end. I do save them in the folder with a working title preceded by the number/letter code to get the order right. As often as not, the working chapter title is to remember what's in there rather than being dramatic and catchy. sh
I strongly recommend what Prince of Spires mentions. Use Styles. Scrivener (or Atticus; I use both) can't read folder names. But they do read Headings. Since it's easy to change heading text, you can treat them just like you do the folder names, as temporary until you get around to naming fer realz. If you take time to do that now, it will make the import process much smoother.

More generally, regardless of the writing tool you use, learn to make friends with styles!
 
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