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Message started by JeffAbbott on Jan 8th, 2008, 12:20pm

Title: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Jan 8th, 2008, 12:20pm

Hi all, I'm a Tinderbox newbie. I'd like to use Tinderbox to organize detailed notes for a novel. I've written ten suspense novels (published in fifteen languages), and have also written film treatments for studios. I've done most of my work with analog methods and the Inspiration outliner. Tinderbox represents a new way for me to work and I wondered if I might get some advice.

Normally I've kept a notebook for each book I write, filled with thoughts and ideas on characters, plots, twists, and sketches of scenes. These usually ran about 200+ pages and were not highly organized. I would fill up these notebooks, outline my plot on index cards, and use that stack of cards as a guide for a more detailed outline in Inspiration, then write the novel in Word. I also used Inspiration a lot for brainstorming. But I discovered there were lots of detail in the notebooks that weren't making it into the index cards and thus into my early drafts, which led me to Tinderbox as a way to preserve the visual outlining of index cards/Inspiration with the meat of the notebook's details inside the notes: linked, organized, searchable and at immediate hand. I'd also like to use Tinderbox to keep ideas that aren't quite ready for a book or film or story, but could be mined for later projects.

But for my first project, I'm feeling a bit lost. I want to be able to create scenes, identify those that share the same point-of-view character, identify those that are either part of the main plot or one of two subplots, AND identify a particularly important subset of scenes called "pivotal" scenes, and group all scenes into a three-act structure.

So here was my take on how I might organize this and I'd like thoughts from more experienced users:
--create a "scene" prototype note that carries three attributes I'd like to track as I shape the book: point-of-view character; plotline; and whether or not the scene is a pivotal scene (I have about thirteen of these in the book)
--create a note for each scene, entering in the three attributes
--group scenes into three acts using adornments (Act 1, Act 2 and Act 3)

I think color would be best to identify the plot attribute. But I'm wondering how best to ID pivotal scenes or those told from a certain character's POV. I know I could just show notes that match the attribute's value, but I'd still like to easily pick those out when looking at the whole structure. I suppose I could do it so that if a note's attributes were hero+main plot, the color would be green, but hero+subplot the color would be brown, but I REALLY did not want to overcomplicate. If this is the simple way to do it, that's fine, I didn't know if there was a simpler way.

Thanks for reading all this and any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Jeff Abbott

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by David Nelson on Jan 11th, 2008, 1:41pm

I used Tinderbox to write a non-fiction book.  I first started using TB as a place to dump research pieces I found that I wanted to include or that jogged my thought process to say something that grew out of the reading.  I then outlined the entire book in TB, taking full advantage of the ability to constantly tinker with the plan, moving things around at will.  I mainly used the map view in the early stages, but then worked only in text views once the outline was more or less established.

I am now drafting a novel, and TB is helping.  I have never published fiction, so I am a complete newbie.  I have created a file in TB for each character.  Scenes (or major segments of the story line) are each files.  My notes range from fully formed text to just random memory joggers.

For my non-fiction writing, I have exported into Word but I just started using Scrivener and so far find it more pleasing.

My biggest problem with TB is that I am not computer saavy enough to take full advantage of export or prototypes.  I read "The Tinderbox Way" but I am still struggling to maximize my use of the software.  Even with my limited abilities, I marvel at how adaptable TB is for writing projects.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Jan 11th, 2008, 8:53pm

I don't mind sharing what works and what doesn't--even if it makes me look not very bright--as I try to use Tinderbox to structure notes/scenes for a novel.

Using Adornments for Act One and Act Two (just to visually group scenes) sounded fine, but when I switch to Outline View the Act Two scenes are not in the expected order. (I know Adornments don't show in Outline--but going to Outline view changed the order of the scenes as laid out in Act Two, and I'm not sure why). Major setback #1. I don't want to make Act One a container because I'd very much like to be able to see the entire book in one view. So I have to make a call here: Outline view or Map View to finish the rest of the scenes. I think I am going to stick with Map View because that's the view I was picturing analyzing the book in much more than Outline view. So I'll press ahead and hope I can figure out a way to not have to reorder everything in Outline view when I want to switch to Outline. I keep thinking of Tinderbox as index cards on steroids, so I'll stick with what's closest to index cards for now.

I've only created two prototypes so far:
POV, with three attributes: Pivotal (yes or no), Point of View, and Subplot.
Character (with all the notes for every character in the book kept inside a container called Characters). Very helpful.

And I've set up one agent, to capture Pivotal Scenes and highlight them as red so I can be sure the structure looks solid. I'd like to set up other agents for subplots but haven't gotten there yet.

I did set up a separate Ideas document, for things I've thought of and want to develop later. The only prototype I've created there so far is an Idea prototype. Just very basic. But I created containers for book ideas, film ideas, story ideas, essay ideas, etc. Again, I'm not a techie, so I'm trying to keep things basic so I don't get in over my head.


Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Mark Bernstein on Jan 12th, 2008, 8:55am

In Tinderbox, the sequence of notes in the outline view is independent of the way the notes are positioned in the Map view.  So, moving a note onto the Act I adornment doesn't change where it appears in the outline.

And, when you think about it, that's probably what you want.  For example, suppose you're planning a big historical thriller with a complex, braided plot.  You've got several narrative strands with different points of view: a band of Polish guerrillas fighting outside Minsk in 1944, the Hero, and The Girl.  You're going to have flashbacks, you're going to have cliffhangers, and you're going to have a headache keeping track of everything.

So, you've got TWO things to explore: what happened when (so the Poles discover the Nazi treasure *after* The Girl's future grandmother joins the Resistance) and at what point you disclose it (so you establish the charming little oil painting in The Girl's dorm room before it is stolen, and so it is stolen just after we learn that it's really a masterwork of McGuffin).  You want to be able to move incidents around in the story (outline view) while leaving them in place in the map view (history).  

(The theoretically inclined will recognize our old friends suzjet and fabular here.)

Or, if this is a novel you're adapting for the screen, you might need to disentangle the book's sequence of presentation to make it filmable.

Just drag the notes where they belong in the outline; it's faster (and more interesting) than you'd think.  (Note: you *can* derive the map position from outline order if you want, using a Rule or an OnAdd action.  But this might be gilding the lily.)

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Michael Bywater on Jan 12th, 2008, 9:30pm

Speaking as a Tinderbox oldie -- I've written three non- (or almost non-)fiction books relying heavily on Tbx for the purposes Jeff mentions, and countless other stuff (articles, papers, conference talks etc) -- my first thought is that the key to using Tbx for this purpose is incremental organisation.

Tinderbox shares with my other two favourite apps, DevonTHINK and Scrivener, the ability to watch your structure emerge as you work, which, I'd gamble, is at the root of any "creative" writing. Whatever they teach in school, if you're a writer, outlines just don't work. I think it's common to 90% of us (based on other writers I've talked to) that once we start writing, the words call the tune. This sentence prompts the next sentence; this paragraph, the next; and so it goes until we're done and it's time to rewrite.

The great strength of Tinderbox for me is that I can start with a fairly simple outline. I know things are going to need research notes, vague ideas, structural notions, snippets of stuff that strike me as particularly finely written (and which will therefore never make it into the final draft; murder your darlings) and so on.  I also know that I can make sense of this stuff in Tinderbox as it begins to make sense to me. For example

-- Hey, this thing is linked to that thing!
-- I need to make sure this bit goes in chapter 3
-- I ought to be collecting everything I know about sworn-brotherhood.
-- Maybe I should formalise my notes on source material now.
-- I want an easy way to see the stuff that I've already allocated to a chapter.
-- I've lost track of what my researcher is doing; I'd better have a system for that.
-- I've got too much material on this subject; I want to see instantly which of my notes has the most links to other notes, as good a measure of importance as any.
-- I need to lay this bit out visually, in Map view.

. . . and so on.

Tinderbox lets me do this, and I know the ideal is that we "grok" something but, to be honest, I've never "grokked" Tinderbox; just found that, whatever it is i want to do, 95% of the time I can (with a little bit of fiddling sometimes) do it, and, most of the time, do it on the fly.  The underlying stuff remains intact.

One of the beauties of this is, as Jeff mentioned, that I don't get to the end of the thing and hand it in and then think "darn, I never included that bit about X".  In fact, I'm going to go to my Tinderbox file for the current book, just nearing completion, and set up something to find all the things I said I'd use but haven't. A little Agent will do it; look for "Crucial=yes" and "Used=no", and gather them all together. Less than five minutes' work.

I've a gripe, though. A major gripe. Mark Bernstein knows all about it, because I've been whining to him for a few years now. It's this: semantic links.  Tinderbox shows its genealogy, its interactive/hypertext DNA if you like, in its links and specifically in the Nakakoji view.  Link-sets are called "Paths" and it was only when I realised this was a hypertext narrative idea (you could have a "ends in disaster" path and a "gets the girl in the end" path and so on) that it made any sense.

Unfortunately it doesn't make sense to narrative writers, certainly not at my end of the game. What I want is to take a given item and see what's linked to it, and how.  I want to see all the stuff that supports it; all the stuff that refutes it; all the "see also" stuff; all the things that reference it.  Instead, I can only look at it by links across the board. So I can see everything that refutes other stuff, everything that cites other stuff and so on, with no idea really of the underlying semantics at all.

Minor gripe. But one that must be made.

I've said more than I intended to. I was going to say "Fascinating topic, let me have a think about it and I'll post some hopefully useful stuff in the next few days" but as usual -- as always, with a deadline looming -- I've banged on too long. Forgive me. I'll be back with something sensible. As for "suzjet" -- this must be the only software forum where one's not surprised to see Interventional Narratology rearing its pretty little head...

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by briankpenney on Jan 13th, 2008, 12:24am

Jeff-

For your "Major Setback #1", i.e. how to view the everything at once, and whether to organize by adornment or containers. I had a similar issue trying to set up my ToDoList/Life Organizer TBX. (Aside: Mark, this was the file you saw over my shoulder at the TBX weekend Boston) I found a good compromise in some cases was to use a container, but to expand its size in the map view. If you go inside (highlight the note, then press the down arrow key) you can arrange the notes within. There is a grey outline square in this view that indicates what will show in the map view one level up.  

I use color to pick out to what realm of my life the note corresponds: personal is blue, college or departmental service is magenta, etc. If you need to be able to scan for more than one characteristic, you can use color for one, badges for another, and borders for yet another.


Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Sarah Smith on Jan 13th, 2008, 12:32am

I'm currently using Tinderbox for two novel projects.  

One of them is about survivors of the Titanic in 1912 New York.  The other is a projected probably-5-book series that includes a lot of worldbuilding.  

What Michael says about incremental organization.  When I start out, any information database I have is a dumping ground.  Source notes, ideas for scenes I think are going to be there, bits of dialogue, background stuff, thematic notes.  My other favorite PIM is Lotus Agenda; Tinderbox's advantage over Agenda is multimedia, pictures and music and maps.  Map views let me create a city or a family tree.  With Outline views I can just keep dumping and sorting and playing until things start making sense.  As Mark suggests, I'll often have several different views, organized differently.

Essentially my Tinderbox outline serves as the first draft, when the presentational problems get worked out, before the characters and the writing take over.

I have Characters prototypes and Scenes prototypes.  For the set of books, there's a prototype for each character, which in turn serves as a prototype for the state of the character in each book.  I have several others (Source, Book, Location).

I love Jeff's idea of coloring pivotal scenes in red.  (Hi, Jeff!  We've seen each other at Bouchercons.)  

To see pivotal scenes all together, you can create an agent.  To see pivotal scenes per POV, you can create a few agents.  (Unless there's a way to show them all together.  Mark?)

My principal pregnant dog against Tinderbox, which I've mentioned to Mark, is that Tinderbox agents aren't as strong as Lotus Agenda views.  In Agenda, you can create any number of views, and set up the views to show information pretty much as you like.  You can then add new notes to any view, giving them attributes like a Tinderbox note.  But the views are entirely independent of one another, so any playing around with organization in one view won't affect the others.   You can also display information about notes in views, without sorting by that information.  For example, you can set up a view showing only your pivotal scenes, display the point of view from which they're told, and sort them in the order that you'd like them for this view--without affecting any other view.  To that degree Tinderbox shows its roots in hypertext and Agenda, its basis as a relational database.

Not complaining, just making a suggestion (again)  ;)

Hello, Brian!

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Jan 13th, 2008, 11:18am

Thank you all for the terrific replies and the excellent suggestions.

Probably part of my challenge here is that I've already written most of this book; what I'm trying to do is use Tinderbox to tighten it, bring order out of existing semi-chaos, bring out new elements of the story to greater attention, figure how to better integrate certain threads and characters, and also figure out the best overall structure for the novel. I wrote a fair number of scenes out of order, and I'm trying to figure out where they need to be consigned to limbo or if there are relationships in them to other scenes or ideas that will strengthen the book in the all-important rewrite.

What I've decided to do is to finish fleshing out the notes in Outline View instead of Map view, while keeping a Map View open as well so I can see where I've been and where I need to go next and I can still stick with my beloved index card look. . I think the visual component is important to me at this point; I'm wanting to see the shape of the story, and how the parts relate to each other. I think I might group things a bit differently in the Map view if I was starting this book from scratch. Right now I still am using Adornments for the acts, with agents to capture pivotal scenes, three subplots and POVs, and outtake scenes (scenes I'm not sure where they will fit in or if I will use them) off to the side. It's sort of like having a giant wall to move around and play with the ideas.

I did have a few frustrations in setting up agents for subplots; and I probably should have used stamps for those, just to get it done and finished, but it was valuable to make some mistakes with agents and then fix them.

Michael, your incremental organization approach sounds a lot like what goes on in my head during a write. I also use DevonThink for holding all my research but it didn't feel quite like the place to keep book outlines and creative-style notes and such.

Sarah, hi, great to see you here. Your novel about Titanic survivors sounds absolutely intriguing. I don't think I ever used Lotus Agenda--it was a DOS program, right? Are you still using it? I'm afraid the antique program I miss the most is MORE, something I adopted long after it was taken off the market. I like very much that Tinderbox lets you create aliases, as MORE did (MORE called them clones), which is helpful in seeing scenes in more than one context: having a scene exist in the overall story's structure, but then being able to collect and clone it in a suboutline for a subplot, such as a love story or one character's story arc, so you can get a tighter view of that one section of the book.

I'm using an agent and the color red to identify the pivotal scenes, and this is key to me because that's about as much detailed outline as I give my US and British editors when they sign-off on the proposal. I know some people think suspense is nothing but action and noise but the scenes that make or break the book for me are the greatest moments of choice and emotional impact for the main character. Those are the ones my editors care about and so those are the ones I want to be sure work in the structure.

Thank you all again for the suggestions and I'll be sure and post back about how this goes. I did notice the view count on this thread has taken a big jump up. :-)

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Michael Bywater on Jan 13th, 2008, 12:13pm


JeffAbbott wrote:
Michael, your incremental organization approach sounds a lot like what goes on in my head during a write.


Yes... the great think being that my head isn't as good at keeping track of stuff (or indeed just *keeping* stuff; a lot seems to just trickle away somewhere) as Tinderbox.


Quote:
I also use DevonThink for holding all my research but it didn't feel quite like the place to keep book outlines and creative-style notes and such.


I agree. I don't know why, though. Perhaps because Tinderbox's multiplicity of views means -- for me, anyway -- I seldom if ever find myself thinking "I wonder what the hell I was thinking of when I made that note."


Quote:
Sarah, hi, great to see you here. Your novel about Titanic survivors sounds absolutely intriguing.


+1.  And while the compliments are flying around, I loved Panic, Jeff. I shouted "Aha! Gotcha, Mister Mysterio So-Called Big Shot Suspense Author! I see through your little game!" at least half a dozen times. And each time I was wrong. That's the way I like 'em.


Quote:
having a scene exist in the overall story's structure, but then being able to collect and clone it in a suboutline for a subplot, such as a love story or one character's story arc, so you can get a tighter view of that one section of the book.


I may be missing the point, but if you had an attribute for each subplot you could set up agents to capture each scene in that subplot, surely?  The agent would look for e.g. <NorbertRealisesHeIsAnIdiot = true> and then do whatever you want with it.  (Including, of course, see where each scene fits in the main structure).  It took me a long time to realize that I could have as many attributes as I want, which was sort of foolish, but once I realized it, things became a lot simpler. Want scenes where Eunice Wrestles Yet Again With Erotic Desire Versus Her Religious Beliefs?  Just set up a Boolean attribute called that, and an agent to look for it. Or use keywords as ad hoc tags. One of the problems with Tinderbox initially is that very often it can do whatever you want but in several different ways... in one case, involving such a lot of fooling around (and the renaming of every single note in my huge book file as "YetAnotherBloodyNote" 8-)) that Dr Bernstein surrendered and introduced the new NameExpression.  (Attrition sometimes works...)

I may have misunderstood what you're trying to do.  But the thing about forums is of course everyone's eager to help everyone else, so if I have misunderstood, throw it back & I'm sure someone will come up with an answer.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Jan 13th, 2008, 4:33pm


Michael Bywater wrote:
+1.  And while the compliments are flying around, I loved Panic, Jeff. I shouted "Aha! Gotcha, Mister Mysterio So-Called Big Shot Suspense Author! I see through your little game!" at least half a dozen times. And each time I was wrong. That's the way I like 'em.


Oh, thanks very much. It was an enormously fun book to write. Panic was the novel where I really really decided to focus on structure as much as I did other elements in the book, which is what I guess has eventually led me to Tinderbox.


Quote:
I may be missing the point, but if you had an attribute for each subplot you could set up agents to capture each scene in that subplot, surely?  The agent would look for e.g. <NorbertRealisesHeIsAnIdiot = true> and then do whatever you want with it.


You're absolutely right, and that's how I'm approaching it. I have a Subplot attribute and if its value is anything other than "main", it's getting picked up by an appropriate agent. Being able to easily see every scene within a subplot has been a big help so far. The other thing I've done that's helpful is an Outtakes attribute--which lets me easily identify those scenes that I've written but don't have a confirmed place yet in the story. A couple of those outtake scenes will get dumped as part of that murder your darlings creed, but a couple of others will be reworked into other scenes to make them stronger. So, this is progress for me.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Patrick Lynch on Jan 13th, 2008, 4:41pm


Michael Bywater wrote:
[quote author=JeffAbbott link=1199812821/0#7 date=1200241122]

[quote]I also use DevonThink for holding all my research but it didn't feel quite like the place to keep book outlines and creative-style notes and such.


How are you using DevonThink and does it seem to bog down your memory (RAM)? Thanks. I also have Notetaker and am hedging between the two for notes.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Michael Bywater on Jan 13th, 2008, 5:08pm


Patrick Lynch wrote:
[quote author=Michael Bywater link=1199812821/0#8 date=1200244435]
How are you using DevonThink and does it seem to bog down your memory (RAM)? Thanks. I also have Notetaker and am hedging between the two for notes.


Lord... now I have to actually think about what I'm doing. I'm an info t*rt and an organisation sl*t (this BBS recast that as "very friendly person"; mealy-mouthed software, eh?)so it's all a bit ad hoc. Essentially Yojimbo is the holding station for everything. Then I go through Yojimbo and what I want to keep (whether or not I know _why_ I want to keep it) goes into DT Pro, unless it's obviously and exclusively for the current stuff I'm working on, in which case it goes into Tinderbox.  DevonThink, then, is a kind of data attic. Tinderbox is the Planning Department. Scrivener is the Machine Room; and Mellel is the Finishing Shop.  But, as I say, it's chaotic.

I used NoteTaker but drifted into DevonThink (a) because I am disorganised and (b) because I marginally prefer DT's ability to show me multiple windows.  But NoteTaker is also a fine piece of work and I use it for highly pre-structured stuff.  Purely personal choice.

Yes, DevonThink is a bit of a RAM pig. With my main database (>6,000 entries, 8 million words) it likes around 200Mb on my 'umble BlacBook 2GHz.  But that's only 10% of the available RAM and I don't see any performance degradation.

NB DevonThink 2.5 is faster, AND is now Spotlight-friendly. Given the great improvements in Leopard's Spotlight implementation, that makes it _much_ more useful.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Jan 13th, 2008, 5:39pm


Mark Bernstein wrote:
Just drag the notes where they belong in the outline; it's faster (and more interesting) than you'd think.  (Note: you *can* derive the map position from outline order if you want, using a Rule or an OnAdd action.  But this might be gilding the lily.)


I wanted to comment on Mark's suggestion here. At first, I resisted it--because I wanted to work in Map view solely as I laid out the scenes. Because Map view is one of the reasons I bought Tinderbox. But I figured, okay, he knows what he's talking about. And he's right. It is much easier to start in Outline View when you've got lots of notes to create. I moved to Outline View, using separators to divide the book up into acts (and days) and it's been much easier than trying to create and order and frankly absorb everything in Map view.

I still might want to have the map position follow the outline order at some point (and so may venture toward my first rule or add-on thingamabob), but I wanted to thank Mark for this basic albeit helpful suggestion. Anyone else trying this at home might take it to heart.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Jan 13th, 2008, 5:47pm


Patrick Lynch wrote:
How are you using DevonThink and does it seem to bog down your memory (RAM)? Thanks. I also have Notetaker and am hedging between the two for notes.


My use of DevonThink is basic. I put in all web and print articles and research materials for my books or anything else that I think might even be peripherally interesting to any book or story idea I've got on the stove. I also keep quotes/clippings from books I read for research in there, organized by book and author. I do try to classify each article fairly specifically because it makes it easier to put similar with similar later on. I also use it for an Apple Mail archive database and to keep a personal database of odds and ends. Next month my assistant is going to start scanning old papers and documents into DT Pro Office for me, to digitize a couple of file cabinet drawers of stuff. I don't find it's a big memory hog but I frankly wouldn't know how to tell how much memory it's consuming when it runs, I'm not very technical. The mail archive is the slowest of the databases, though. I am a happy user of DT Pro. Hope that helps.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by C. A. Campbell on Jan 14th, 2008, 12:46pm

Hello,

I am a Tinderbox neophyte and have been enjoying this thread on novel writing.  I have a question for those more experienced.  The answer may be right under my nose, but here goes:  I noticed some of you do your planning in Tinderbox and then export to Scrivener to do the writing.  Can you please give me some ideas as how to most effectively export to Scrivener and if there is a way to break the Tinderbox file into divisions that Scrivener will recognise as the "note cards"?  

I am currently planning a non-fiction book.

Thanks for your time.

Colin

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Michael Bywater on Jan 14th, 2008, 1:36pm

Colin -- I can only speak for myself, but I haven't tried and frankly I don't think it would help the way I work that much. I have the Tinderbox file and the Scrivener file open & just copy and paste between them. The structure in Tinderbox is far too intricate to export to Scrivener anyway, without losing 80% of the point of using Tinderbox in the first place...

If you did want to export, then split, your file, the best way would be perhaps to use the Text Export in Tinderbox, then go through it using the Documents > Split > At Selection command in Scrivener; this then would give you multiple Scrivener files and off you go. (There isn't, as far as I know, the equivalent of Tinderbox's Explode command in Scrivener, but you might raise the question on the Scrivener forum and see what you get.)

Hope this helps. Others will probably have far more sophisticated answers, but I have to say that exporting from Tinderbox has never been something I've done much, so I'm not really up to speed on the possibilities.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Jan 14th, 2008, 2:05pm

Colin:

I have not tried it but there was a discussion on how to do this on the Scrivener forum. (There has actually been a fair amount of discussion about Tinderbox there.)

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1355&highlight=tinderbox+export

This is the most specific direction I have seen on how to do this, kindly posted by AmberV, one of the forum's moderators and a Tinderbox fan. I hope it is okay to reproduce here what she suggested:

===

I would definitely recommend using the HTML exporter for this. While it is called HTML export, it is in reality much more flexible. The format is only what the template dictates it to be. You can use very simple templates like:

Code:
^title
^text


And you'll get a bunch of text files, arranged in folders to match the Tinderbox outline, with a title on one line and then the content of the note. There are a few things to watch for. Set the default for the attribute HTMLMarkupText to false. This way you will not get <p> tags around paragraphs and so forth. You might also want to extend the length of HTMLMaxFilenameLength to 128 or so, and set HTMLExportExtension to txt, instead of html.

Once you get things exported the way you like it, you can just drag the folder that Tinderbox creates into Scrivener's Binder, and the outline structure will be retained.

If you did wish to retain formatting; if you used bold and italics in Tinderbox and you want to carry that over to Scrivener, then you probably should let it create very simple HTML files, and make sure to set Scrivener to convert HTML to rich text in preferences.
===

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Michael Bywater on Jan 14th, 2008, 2:34pm

Jeff, I thought you said you weren't technically minded... That routine you posted is pretty neat. Thanks!

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Jan 14th, 2008, 2:41pm

It's not mine--it's AmberV's-- and I don't even know how to make it work or if it will work, although I might be tempted to try it later. I know nothing about HTML. Caveat emptor and all that.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Mark Anderson on Jan 15th, 2008, 3:23pm

By varying the structure of your TBX outline and the scope of your (HTML) export, e.g. a container and all its descendants - or just immediate children - you will be able to output folders of files that will replicate the hierarchy in Scrivener.  I don't have the app (so have only watched the movie) and it appears folders of files will drag-import with the folder/file layout intact.

Thus your container for the first chapter might be an empty container called "Chapter 1". Exporting this and its child notes should give you a folder of 'html' (or whatever format you choose) files. Nakakoji text export works a different way and this is why you're better off using 'HTML' export in this scenario even if your templates don't use HTML mark-up. I realise that will seem a little counter-intuitive at first sight - welcome to the power of Tinderbox.

Exporting footnotes and other such annotations as part of the 'source' note (i.e. main article + all supporting references/footnotes in one exported file/document) is more difficult, if the linked content are separate TB notes and only referenced by TB links. However, if a set attribute is used, the parent can record the note names of all it's supporting references.  Then (v4.0.0+), assuming our user set attribute is called MyRefs, then at the bottom of the source nore, add a new paragraph like this:

format(MyRefs,<ol>,<li>,</li>,</ol>)

When exported the references will be a numbered list of 'bullets'. Want bullets instead of numbers? Use a 'ul' instead of 'ol' in the above tags.

Want references separate from footnotes?  Use 2 attributes, then do as above once for each named attribute. And so on....

Not sure about format()? See the manual and this aTbRef page.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by briankpenney on Jan 15th, 2008, 10:00pm


Sarah Smith wrote:
In Agenda, you can create any number of views, and set up the views to show information pretty much as you like.  You can then add new notes to any view, giving them attributes like a Tinderbox note.  But the views are entirely independent of one another, so any playing around with organization in one view won't affect the others.   You can also display information about notes in views, without sorting by that information.  For example, you can set up a view showing only your pivotal scenes, display the point of view from which they're told, and sort them in the order that you'd like them for this view--without affecting any other view.


These are issues I've thought about too, and maybe would be of interest to others in their writing. All of us want to look at our notes from different views... part of why we are using TBX in the first place: the simultaneous map, outline, etc. views, even the ability to have complex views you don't use all the time by having an agent that you turn off until you need it.

However, sometimes I want to see the same notes in different ways for different purposes, and I think Sarah (Hi Sarah!) hits two interesting ideas:
1) can you have different orders/arrangements of notes in different views, such that the order in one does not affect the other? I have managed to do this on a small scale by creating a new note ("Arrangement 1" or something), creating aliases for the notes of interest, pulling them into the map view of Arrangement 1 and rearranging them at will. You can theoretically do this as many times as you like, and rearranging the notes in one view won't affect the other views. However, creating the aliases each time is manual and clunky. Is there a way to speed this up? For instance, I can Find all the notes that relate to a topic, but cannot seem to clone them in the find view; I have to open separate new outline views for each.
2) can you choose which "flags" to display in a given view? I know I can have agents or rules stamp notes with colors or badges that pervade all views. I don't think there is a way the badge can vary from view to view given the way Tinderbox is set up. However, Tinderbox 4 has the tab on the bottom of notes in map view that display which prototype to which the note belongs; maybe this tab could display other information in different views? (Mark?) I find I don't use the tab to reassign prototypes that much. Just a thought.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Martin Spernau on Jan 18th, 2008, 4:47pm

What an interesting thread this is!
Lots of good hints and workflow ideas.
And I can actually start in this forum by contributing solutions :)

a) Keeping Outline and Map views 'in sync': Mark and others have hinted at ways to organize map views according to the outline ordering... I actualy prefer it the other way around. In my approach the map is a 'visual outline' where I shuffle notes around, stack them this way or that and generally re arrange them a lot. The actual outline view is more about Export and pulling the various pieces into one piece of text.
To sync the (export) outline to my constant rearranging of notes in the map I simply use the 'sort by' option of the containing note and set it to Ypos. I've dscrined this in more detail here:
http://traumwind.de/tindertraum/archives/cloud_to_text.html

b) Having notes appear in several independant views... I've used aliases for this with great success, but it is a manual process of creating them and nt one I'd do with large numbers of notes.

c) devonThink etc... is anyone here using it for it's ability to find 'similar notes?' I was wondering if Tbx' Similar Notes feature was useful to anyone here...

-Martin

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Mark Bernstein on Jan 19th, 2008, 8:36am

I use "Find Similar Notes" all the time for my weblog.

I have several thousand notes in this document, and I want to build a web of interconnections to different notes instead of reinforcing a few "favorite" posts over and over.  "Find Similar Notes" works nicely for locating candidates.

(Perhaps this is the start of a new topic?)

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by AndyDent on Jan 24th, 2008, 5:29am


JeffAbbott wrote:
I think I am going to stick with Map View because that's the view I was picturing analyzing the book in much more than Outline view.

Don't think of Map View as singular.

You can have multiple Map Views open. Say you create a few containers to represent different arbitrary maps of items at various levels. You can put aliases of those items into this container and they can have a visual relationship in that container's Map View independent of any other relationships. Multiple aliases can be copied and pasted into other containers to keep playing with alternate spatial relationships.

Something I would LOVE would be a quick way to add aliases from one or more selected items with a drag operation, say option-drag or option-command-drag. Using containers for multiple map views in this manner is the only convincing scenario I've been able to come up with for this feature so Mark hasn't (yet) implemented it  ;)

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Feb 16th, 2008, 1:22pm

I should note that I haven't gotten the HTML export from Tinderbox into Scrivener to work right; it puts all the Tinderbox notes into a file called imported media, the notes are in alphabetical order, and the structure is lost. (This isn't the fault of Tinderbox; I know next to nothing about HTML, so I'm quite sure that it's pilot error.) But that's okay--I'm simply recreating the structure in Scrivener while keeping Tinderbox open. This way I have access to all my notes  while writing and can easily change the outline as I do my rewrite. I could have spent a lot of time trying to diagnose it, but I decided that the "by hand" way was much better--forcing me to think another time about structure, which is not a bad thing.

Having used it for a few weeks, I am really liking Tinderbox as a writer's tool. I have purposefully not tried to delve too deep into it because I think it's not a good thing to worry more about tools/processes than the actual writing. I care far more about getting the book done, and writing it well, and completing it on time, than I do the perfection of my notes/outline. But I am happy with Tinderbox and my choice to move to it from Inspiration.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Nov 20th, 2008, 9:43am

It's been a long while since I wrote anything about using Tinderbox in my writing--but I just started a new book this week, and so this is the first time doing a book I could "start" with Tinderbox. I found myself during the last book straddling a bit--somethings in paper notebooks, somethings in Tinderbox. I've been thinking about this next book for a few weeks, lots of paper notes, but now I'm pouring everything into Tinderbox. (I still will use paper notebooks, but I am making myself move that into Tinderbox on a regular basis.)

Not only am I putting every idea, character sketch, list of potential scenes, etc., into Tinderbox I'm also putting in every to-do that might go along with the book: research plans, lists of research sources, schedule for writing the drafts, things I want to remember as I write the book. It will either be a great resource or a black hole.

I finally took yesterday to read The Tinderbox Way. A couple of times I felt real resistance to making the effort to learn the product more deeply; but knowing that my old way wasn't entirely satisfactory kept me going, and I hope this will work well for me. Will report back later.
Amazed that this is such a widely read thread.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Mark Bernstein on Nov 20th, 2008, 9:34pm

Always remember to keep great backups!  Time Machine is your friend.

But this is very cool.  It's great to be of help!

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by JeffAbbott on Jan 5th, 2009, 9:50am

Thanks, Mark.

I might mention that I have been writing a series of entries on my blog called The Organized Writer--about how I manage both the creative and administrative sides of being a professional writer. Tinderbox has gotten a couple of shout-outs. You can click on the Organized Writer link on the main blog page to see all the entries.

http://blog.jeffabbott.com/

Even using Tinderbox for so much of my notes, I still feel I'm not using it to its full potential. I tend to dump tons of thoughts and ideas into it and then never quite organize it in a better way (I just sort of arrange things as I think it will be useful and keep thinking I should let the software do more of that work).

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by AsafKeller on Dec 31st, 2009, 10:34am


Quote:
On Feb 16th, 2008 JeffAbbott wrote: I should note that I haven't gotten the HTML export from Tinderbox into Scrivener to work right; it puts all the Tinderbox notes into a file called imported media, the notes are in alphabetical order, and the structure is lost.
Has anyone found a way to export directly from TB to Scrivener while maintaining the outline structure?

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Mark Bernstein on Dec 31st, 2009, 11:30am

HTML export is easy; in Tinderbox 5, you can copy outlines and paste them; tab indents will reflect the hierarchical structure.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Mark Anderson on Jan 2nd, 2010, 11:08am

Off-Topic replies have been moved to this Topic.

Oct 2011: Nothing bad there, the thread just got sidetracked onto OPML export (since improved). Scrivener import has also been added to TB since then.

Title: Re: Notes for a Novel
Post by Mark Anderson on Oct 18th, 2012, 11:14am

Though this is from a few years back, and Tinderbox's features have grown a bit**, it might be of use to those just preparing for NaNoWriMo.

** in my admin hat if I spot any now defunct observations I'll try and add an inline update.

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