Scrivener Quick Tip: Auto Generate Synopsis


(I’m using the Mac version of Scrivener, v 2.3.1)

Welcome back to Scrivener Quick Tips! When I started these, I truly intended them to be ‘quick tips’, but the more I get into and use Scrivener, the more detailed these become.  Hope you’ll still stick around and enjoy them!

I know it’s been a while, but I’m back today with an interesting bit that came about thanks to a question on Twitter.

Lesberatti asked:

Okay – so.  Your Manuscript inside of Scrivener defaults to a Folder / Scene structure when you use one of the templates like Novel or Short Story.

I talked once before about how you can go about creating your Synopsis inside of your Scrivener Project.  And how to Compile (export) that Synopsis, and how to Compile (export) your Synopsis Titles as an Enumerated Outline. But all of these Tips assume you have manually entered text into your Project either on the Corkboard or Outline Views (or in the Inspector).

Lesberatti wants to know if that process can be automated based on the actual prose.  The short answer is: Yep.

Let’s take a look at my Scrivener Walkthrough Project.  I’ve made a few changes for the purposes of today’s Quick Tip, creating four new Chapter folders in the Binder along with some blank Scenes.  I’m also in Corkboard view.

If I double click any of the Chapter Index Cards on the Corkboard, I’ll drill down into that Chapters Scenes:

Note that there is no text on the Cards in either SS above, nor in the Synopsis Box in the right sidebar/Inspector.  At this point, I could manually type in my Synopsis for this Scene or Chapter, but that’s not what Lesberatti is wanting, so instead, let’s add some text.  For expedience sake, I’m gonna grab some text from another project of mine and paste it in.

Now, I paste the text into the Scenes.  I do this because you can Auto Generate your Synopsis from a Scene, but not from a Folder.  That’s important to remember.

With the Full Manuscript or a Folder selected in the Binder, the option to Auto Generate is grayed out:

So I select the First Scene instead, then Documents > Auto-Generate Synopses

This results in the first paragrap-ish of text being ‘imported’ into the Synopsis field.  Here you can see it in the Inspector:

Here it is on the Corkboard:

And finally, here it is in the Outline:

Now, this isn’t perfect.  It is taking whatever you have in the beginning of your Scene and copying it over to the Synopsis, so it’s not a ‘this is what’s going to happen in this scene’ sort of thing.

Having said that, if you prefer using the main window/editor to write your Synopsis, you could certainly do that and then use this feature to move it over when you are done.  It still won’t bring anything over on the Chapter Folders, though:

After Auto Generating Synopsis, Folders are still ‘blank’

Hope that helps!

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