Novel Structure#

This section covers the structure of a novel project.

It concerns documents under the Novel type root folder only. There are some restrictions and features that only apply to these types of documents.

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 headers 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 markdown syntax.


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 as well as the Novel Tree. Each heading also starts a new region where new references and tags can be defined.

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 explained 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 tag 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 build tool. 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 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 a ! 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 Build Novel Project 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.


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.

Note References#

Each text partition, indicated by a heading of any level, can contain references to tags set in the project notes of the project. The references are gathered by the indexer and used to generate the Outline View. This section covers how to make references to tags. See Tags in Notes for how to define tags the references can point to.

References and tags are also clickable in the document editor and viewer, making it easy to navigate between reference notes while writing. Clicked links are always opened in the view panel.

References are set as a keyword and a list of corresponding tags. The valid keywords are listed below. The format of a reference line is @keyword: value1, [value2] ... [valueN]. All keywords allow multiple values.


The point-of-view character for the current section. The target must be a note tag in a Character type root folder.


The character that has the focus for the current section. This can be used in cases where the focus is not a point-of-view character. The target must be a note tag in a Character type root folder.


Other characters in the current section. The target must be a note tag in a Character type root folder. This should not include the point-of-view or focus character if those references are used.


The plot or subplot advanced in the current section. The target must be a note tag in a Plot type root folder.


The timelines touched by the current section. The target must be a note tag in a Timeline type root folder.


The location the current section takes place in. The target must be a note tag in a Locations type root folder.


Objects present in the current section. The target must be a note tag in a Object type root folder.


Entities present in the current section. The target must be a note tag in a Entities type root folder.


Custom references in the current section. The target must be a note tag in a Custom type root folder. The custom folder are for any other category of notes you may want to use.

The syntax highlighter will alert the user that the tags and references are used correctly, and that the tags referenced exist.

The highlighter may be mistaken if the index of defined tags is out of date. If so, press F9 to regenerate it, or select Rebuild Index from the Tools menu. In general, the index for a document is regenerated when it is saved, so this shouldn’t normally be necessary.

Example of a novel document with references to characters and plots:

 1## Chapter 1
 3@pov: Jane
 5### Scene 1
 7@char: John, Sam
 8@plot: Main
10Once upon a time ...

Document Layout#

All documents in the project can have a layout format set. Previously, there were multiple layouts available to change how the documents where formatted on export. These have now been reduced to just two layouts: Novel Document and Project Note.

Novel documents can only live in a Novel type root folder. You can also move them to Archive and Trash of course. Project notes can be added anywhere in the project.

The project tree can distinguish between the different layouts and header levels of the documents using coloured icons, and optionally add emphasis on the label (See the Preferences.) For novel documents, the heading level of the first heading is recorded, and indicated by the icon.


You can always start writing with a coarse setup with one or a few documents, and then later use the split tool to split the documents into separate chapter and scene documents. You can split a document on any of the four header levels.