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I can’t remember the last time I edited a book written by someone else. Mostly, I write, or mentor writers so that they can edit their own masterpieces.

However, I have a friend – let’s call him the Admiral – and, the other day, he twisted my arm and persuaded me to help him to complete his memoir; it’s the only thing left on his bucket list.

I received an electronic copy of the manuscript, saved in Pages, and pulled it straight into Scrivener. A quick copy and paste of 220,764 words.

My first task was to look at the structure and split the text into chapters. I used  the ‘scrivenings view’ and scrolled down until I spotted a chapter title, highlighted it and opted for Documents / Split / with Selection as Title.

Split

A new folder was created with the title I had highlighted. I clicked on the new folder. It contained the remainder of the text. I highlighted the next chapter heading and split again.

New folder

I continued until I had located all of the Admiral’s chapter headings and split the manuscript into separate folders, one per chapter.

(The screengrabs I’m showing are from a dummy file I created for demonstration purposes – I couldn’t reveal the real manuscript. That would not do!)

The Admiral had included his own contents list but a quick look at my Binder showed me that there were discrepancies between his list and the chapter headings I had located.

Scrivener has an option to create a table of contents (ToC) automatically. It uses whichever folder headings you select and inserts a page tag <$p> for the page numbers; these page numbers will be inserted for you when you compile your book.

I selected all of the chapters – this can be done in any view – and then opted for Edit / Copy Special/ Copy Documents as ToC.

ToC

The ToC was then ready to paste wherever I wanted it. I created a new folder, called it Contents, and pasted the ToC into place.ToC in place

I’ve not had time yet to play with the Compile option, so I simply copied and pasted the ToC list into a Pages document and emailed that to the Admiral with my initial list of queries. When he replies, I can rename chapters, move material about, insert new material … and get on with reading the text.

The Admiral’s story is fascinating and I’m pleased to be working on it with him. And I’m delighted to be using Scrivener as my editing / publishing tool.

What are you working on? Do you use Scrivener to edit / publish other people’s writing?

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2 Comments
  • Patsy

    February 17, 2016 at 08:59

    I don’t mind giving writing buddies feedback on their writing – and even making suggestions for improvement, but wouldn’t want to edit anyone else’s story.

    Just wondered, if you split the document into different folders, can you still work on it as a whole? Eg if you decided to change a character name (probably not something you’d do in someone else’s memoir admittedly) can you apply that change to the whole book at once?

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