Today I’ll be finishing up my talk about Scrivener’s binder feature. Again, this feature is fully customizable. Last time, I talked about how you can set the type of icon to use for each document, but now I want to talk about how you can further customize the binder. If you go to Tools => Options, you’ll see all sorts of great ways to make the entire software interface to look exactly the way you want.
The binder background is typically a light baby blue but I didn’t like that. I went here then clicked on Appearance. The right side blue area changed to another view in which all sorts of other things could be changed.
I single clicked on “Binder Background” then clicked on the small colored rectangle above the “Use Default Color.” A color palette then opens up and there you pick the best color in the world to make your binder beautiful.
There’s a lot more you can do to customize the interface, which I won’t go into here, so just play around and see what you can do.
One more item I want to cover in the binder is how I color code it to keep track of my story lines. If you have one story line, I don’t think this would be so important but if you have two or more and if you’re looking for a better way to keep a handle on everything, this might be just the the thing you need.
First, though, I have to talk about meta-data. At the upper right hand corner is a blue button with an “i” in it. That’s the Inspector. When it’s open, the middle section holds the general meta-data settings.
General meta-data allows you to set labels, statuses (such as first draft, final draft, to-do), and to tell Scrivener whether or not you want this particular document to be included when everything is compiled together.
I use the label feature to keep track of the scenes of each of my POV characters. If you click on the rectangular label button it opens a pre-created list you can use. To add additional labels, scroll down to the bottom of the pre-created list until the edit option appears. This will open another window so you can create whatever label you like and, if you want, to assign it any color.
For my novel, I created a label for each of my POV characters and assigned a specific color to them. If you look again at the binder on the left hand side, you’ll notice that some of the text documents are colored. That’s my label and now I can tell at a glance who’s POV is in each scene. An added bonus is that I can also tell at a glance whether or not I’m giving my characters enough screen time.
I only color code those scenes which will be finalized and compiled into the manuscript. All others, such as those with discarded text or those that have only notes, are not color coded.
The status button set a status such as “To do” or “First Draft” or you can create your own status the same way you create labels. I don’t yet use this feature so feel free to play around and see how it can help you.
The last item in the meta-data section I want to discuss has to do with how you want this particular document compiled. If the “Compile” box is checked, this particular document will be included when you want to put everything together. If it’s not checked, it will not be gathered.
At the top of the Inspector column there is what looks like a lined note card. This is where I put my chapter synopsis. In this picture it’s a purple hue because it’s picking up the fact that I assigned the label of “Benito” to this particular scene and color coded it. If you want to assign a label to your scene but you don’t want your note card to be colored, all you have to do is go to View => Use Label Color in => then select or deselect what you want.
You can make your note card a picture too. This is helpful when you need to refer to a picture for the scene you’re working on, like maybe a picture of a character or scenery of some kind to help you get the words down. To add a picture, click the small note card icon on the far right hand side and the lined card will change to a black field. Then find the picture on your computer and drag it to the note card.
The last thing I’m going to talk about today is the bottom pane in the Inspector. This pane is incredibly versatile because it can be used for project notes, document (or scene) notes, document references, key words, snapshots, and comments & footnotes. This picture shows documents notes. To toggle to project notes, click on the double arrow to the right of “Document Notes” and it will bring it up. All other items can be accessed through the icons at the very bottom.
Until recently, I only used the project notes feature to keep track of global notes such as possible novel titles and any revision notes I need to keep in mind to make sure my sentence structure is correct. Now I’ve placed a timeline of the historical record in there to help me keep up with what happened in real life.
I do not use the documents notes feature because I tend to make my document notes within the document itself.
I’ve also started using the key word section as an additional label type to help me track of a relationship. You can have as many key words as you want and you can even nest key words into key words. Go here for a more in-depth post on key words and how to use them.
If you’re looking for a super versatile writing software, give Scrivener a try. They have a 30 day, fully functional, version and if you decide you want to keep it, it’s less than $50.
Have you tried Scrivener yet? What about other writing software? What do you think? I’d love to hear from you!
Take care now and see you next time.