Novel Structure#

This chapter covers the structure of a novel project.

There are two different types of documents in a project, Novel Documents and Project Notes. Active novel documents can only live in a Novel type root folder. You can also move them to Archive and Trash of course, where they become inactive.

The project tree can distinguish between the different heading levels of the novel documents using coloured icons, and optionally add emphasis on the label, set in Preferences for easier identification.

Importance of Headings#

Subfolders under root folders have no impact on the structure of the novel itself. The structure is instead dictated by the heading level of the headings within the documents.

Four levels of headings are supported, signified by the number of hashes (#) preceding the title. See also the Formatting Your Text section for more details about the markup syntax.


The heading levels are not only important when generating the manuscript, they are also used by the indexer when building the outline tree in the Outline View as well as in the Novel Tree. Each heading also starts a new region where new Tags and References can be defined. See Tags and References for more details.

The syntax for the four basic heading types, and the three special types, is listed in section Headings. The meaning of the four levels for the structure of your novel is as follows:

Heading Level 1: Partition

This heading level signifies that the text refers to a top level heading. This is useful when you want to split the manuscript up into books, parts, or acts. These headings are not required. The novel title itself should use the special heading level #! covered in Headings.

Heading Level 2: Chapter

This heading level signifies a chapter. Each time you want to start a new chapter, you must add such a heading. If you choose to split your manuscript up into one document per scene, you need a single chapter document with just the heading. You can of course also add a synopsis and reference keywords to the chapter document. If you want to open the chapter with a quote or other introductory text that isn’t part of a scene, this is also where you’d put that text.

Heading Level 3: Scene

This heading level signifies a scene. You must provide a title text, but the title text can be replaced with a scene separator or just skipped entirely when you build your manuscript. If you need to distinguish between hard and soft scene breaks, there is an alternative format for scenes you can use for this distinction. The formatting is covered in Headings. See also Hard and Soft Scene Breaks.

Heading Level 4: Section

This heading level can be used to split up a scene, usually called a “section” in the documentation and the user interface. These can be useful if you want to change references mid-scene, like if you change the point-of-view character. You are free to use sections as you wish, and you can filter them out of the final manuscript.

Page breaks can be automatically added before partition, chapter and scene headings from the Manuscript Build tool when you build your project to a format that supports page breaks. If you want page breaks in other places, you have to specify them manually. See Vertical Space and Page Breaks.


There are multiple options of how to process novel headings when building the manuscript. For instance, chapter numbers can be applied automatically, and so can scene numbers if you want them in a draft manuscript. You can also insert point-of-view character names in chapter titles. See the Building the Manuscript page for more details.

Novel Title and Front Matter#

It is recommended that you add a document at the very top of each Novel root folder with the novel title as the first line. You should modify the level 1 heading format code with an ! in order to render it as a document title that is excluded from any automatic Table of Content in a manuscript build document, like so:

#! My Novel

>> _by Jane Doe_ <<

The title is by default centred on the page. You can add more text to the page as you wish, like for instance the author’s name and details.

If you want an additional page of text after the title page, starting on a fresh page, you can add [new page] on a line by itself, and continue the text after it. This will insert a page break before the text. See also Vertical Space and Page Breaks.

Unnumbered Chapter Headings#

If you use the automatic numbering feature for your chapters, but you want to keep some special chapters separate from this, you can add an ! to the level 2 heading formatting code to tell the build tool to skip these chapters when adding numbers.

##! Unnumbered Chapter Title

Chapter Text

There is a separate formatting feature for such chapter titles in the Manuscript Build tool as well. See the Building the Manuscript page for more details. When building a document of a format that supports page breaks, also unnumbered chapters can have a page break added just like for normal chapters.

Hard and Soft Scene Breaks#

If you need two different ways to style scenes in your manuscript, like if you want to insert different scene separators for soft and hard scene breaks, there is an alternative scene format available for scene headings with a ! added to the formatting code.

### Soft Scene Transition

A soft scene break.

###! Hard Scene Transition

A hard scene break.

There is a separate formatting feature for these titles in the Manuscript Build tool.

New in version 2.4.