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. Novel documents can only live in a Novel type root folder. You can also move them to Archive and Trash of course.

The Project Tree can distinguish between the different header levels of the novel documents using coloured icons, and optionally add emphasis on the label, set in Preferences.

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.

Note

The header 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 header types, and the two special header types, is listed in section Headings. The meaning of the four levels for the structure of your novel is as follows:

Header Level 1: Partition

This header level signifies that the text refers to a top level partition. 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 header level #! covered in Headings.

Header Level 2: Chapter

This header level signifies a chapter level partition. 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.

Header Level 3: Scene

This header level signifies a scene level partition. 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.

Header Level 4: Section

This header level signifies a sub-scene level partition, 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 just like with scene titles.

Page breaks are automatically added before level 1 and 2 headers when you build your project to a format that supports page breaks, or when you print the document directly from the Manuscript Build tool. If you want page breaks in other places, you have to specify them manually. See Vertical Space and Page Breaks.

Tip

There are multiple options of how to process novel titles 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. 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 header 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

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 cam add an ! to the level 2 header formatting code to tell the build tool to skip these chapters.

##! Unnumbered Chapter Title

There is a separate formatting feature for such chapters 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 will have a page break added just like for normal chapters.

Note

Previously, you could also disable the automatic numbering of a chapter by adding an * as the first character of the chapter title itself. This feature has been dropped in favour of the current format in order to keep level 1 and 2 headers consistent. Please update your chapter headings if you’ve used this syntax.