Diary of a non-fiction book: Setting up Scrivener

Richard Cadbury (picture loaned to me by a member of the Cadbury family)

I didn’t have a lot of joy opening up my Scrivener binder for The Life of Richard Cadbury. And several times I came *this close* to just opening a new Word file. That wouldn’t do, though, as I really like working in Scrivener and therefore it needs to be working right.

I couldn’t get it to take my folder titles and compile them for me. The titles were only things like “Introduction”, “Chapter x” and “About the Author”, but they just kept coming up blank. I tried every kind of combination of menu commands.

So I started to search for hints, tips and tutorial videos. And I ended up learning how to do quite a few things, but the title thing should have been working.

For example, I’ve never really been able to just copy and paste old books from their Word files into Scrivener without the layout going all over the shop. I knew there would be a workaround, and I knew they call it “import”, but I’ve never had the time to look into it. Now, I discovered how to do it quite by accident and had to try it out straight away. And it worked!

Another thing was really for fiction and it’s having a picture open in Scrivener at the same time as you’re typing into what they call the “editor”. I’d worked out how to do it on what they call the “inspector”, but I couldn’t for the life of me crack it. And now I can do it. And I can do the same for pdfs as well.

So at least two good things came out of this issue.

Then I closed Scrivener down for some reason, can’t remember what, but when I came to turn it back on again I was getting a licence error. If my licence activation didn’t work another two times, then my Scrivener would revert to the trial version, and that only lasts for 30 days. So then I had to faff around looking into that.

After wasting several hours (yes, really), I finally uninstalled Scrivener and then installed it again. And it worked. Everything worked.

So now I have my nice, shiny, new Scrivener file ready and raring to go. I have a folder for each of the chapters:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Contents
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Chapters 1 – 10
  • Appendices
  • About the Author

There are also sections for “front matter” and “research”.

I’ve set the page margins, the fonts, which bits to include in “compile”, which bits to include as they are, and I’ve saved the format as “my non-fiction”. That way, my next non-fiction should take less time – although beta testing on Scrivener 3 for Windows looks as though it’s finally getting somewhere, so I’ll have to find out if any previous saves will carry over when I upgrade or if I’ll have to do them all again.

And then I imported (because I know how to do that now) my “about the author” from my other books.

By then, it was the end of my working day. But at least I have my Scrivener binder now, and – so far – 225 words. Ha! Only 69,775 to go …

Scrivener *is* usually excellent, by the way. I just think there was a blip on this occasion. It happened the same day that Yahoo fell over, but I doubt the two are connected.

The next diary post will cover reading and making notes.