Scrivener, Part Deux

(Here’s Part One)

While getting Snarled Threads ready for ebook release, I made a few more notes about Scrivener specifics that I’d forgotten from the first time around (which less than a month ago, so I have a pretty sad memory). So, here it is: How To Format Your F#%&ing Ebook Without Losing Your Mind, Part II.

Naming Chapters

Scrivener_Snarled_Threads
Fig. 1

See the grey sidebar on the left, hereafter referred to as the binder? Notice how I’ve opened a few of the folders so you can see the documents inside them. I labeled the folders with chapter numbers for ease of navigation and labeled the documents inside with “[Numeral]. Title” for the actual Table of Contents, which Scrivener creates for you.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

While I was compiling the ebook, under “Contents” I selected the texts from the folders but NOT the folders themselves (see the checkmarks?). This gave me a Table of Contents that listed the chapters by numeral and title, just like the titles of the documents.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

I retained my formatting, including my chapter headers (bold, centered, 18-pt, double space above text) in the Formatting checklist. See all those boxes? Check ONLY the ones in the “Text” column. Make sure all the other boxes are unchecked. And see that dropdown menu that says “Custom”? It can say “Ebook.” Make it say “Custom” unless you want your entire text to be left justified with indented paragraphs and no paragraph spacing. I prefer full justified text with spaces between paragraphs in an ebook. Plus, as you’ll see, I had some sections that required special formatting.

Poetry

Several chapters in Snarled Threads feature poetry. Some of it is my own, and some of it is borrowed from a public domain translation of the poems of Sappho. Keeping the verse format and putting proper citation in footnotes was essential. Here’s how I did it.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

The verse text is left justified while the main text is full justified. I inserted the footnotes in MS Word before I copied and pasted the text into Scrivener. Fig. 4 shows how the footnotes appear in Scrivener. Don’t worry, once you compile the draft into a MOBI or ePub file, you get little numbers and corresponding notes at the end of the book just like your original document. Just make sure you select “Text” for Formatting during the Compile stage like in Fig. 3.

Random Weird Stuff

Part of Snarled Threads is told through physician’s notes made by a doctor who blacked out her patients’ names and struck through some of her medical observations. Warning: The next image contains plot SPOILERS.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Scrivener kept the strike-throughs from Word, but I had to redo to the black highlight marker. The ePub version I previewed in Calibre (still cannot get my NOOK app to preview self-made files) shows a black highlight over black text as in the image. The MOBI version I previewed in my Kindle app shows a black highlight over brown text, which looks even cooler imo since you can actually see what’s been “censored”.

Want to see how it turned out? Watch this blog for Snarled Threads‘ release date! In the meantime, check out my first book, A Snag in the Tapestry, for Kindle or NOOK.

Fun with Formatting

Working on ebook creation is interesting when you are only vaguely familiar with HTML and have no experience in coding. I’m trying out a program called Scrivener that is supposed to take care of this problem for me. New software is always a challenge, but I’ve got to say, so far Scrivener is a lot easier on my brain than going through my whole manuscript line by line in Notepad would’ve been. If everything keeps going as well as it has the last couple of days, I should be able to give you an official release date for A Snag in the Tapestry by next Monday!

BTW, for my readers who don’t own Kindles or Nooks, there are free apps that will let you read Kindle or Nook files on your computer. Amazon’s is here. Barnes and Noble’s is here. And since my ebooks will be published DRM-free, you should be able to read them in Calibre.

Okay, back to work now.