Using Scrivener to Create a Proof Manuscript

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Scrivener does many things automatically that have to be set up manually in Word. One of the things it does for novelists, writers of nonfiction and screenwriters is that it will format your document automatically for submission to a literary agent. It makes your document look professional and sharp with just a few clicks of the mouse.

First, go to “File” and then “Compile”. You will see a screen like the one below:

Beside the word “Format” select “Proof Copy” and then tick “Add front matter” and make sure you select “Manuscript Format”. Scrivener works from several templates that are chosen when you begin a new project. If you have chosen the “novel”, “nonfiction”, “screenplay” or “play” template the “manuscript format” front matter is automatically in the Binder along with the “e-book” and “Paperback Novel” front matter. Front matter is simply the pages that will be inserted into the front pages of your book.

Once you hit “Compile” it will ask you to save it as “rich text” which is recommended. This is the best printable quality. When you are finished, you will get some front matter that looks like this:

Each page will also be stamped with a message at the bottom of each page that reads “proof copy – not for distribution”. This doesn’t discourage copyrighting (as you should copyright your document as soon as you get time and the measly $40 or so it costs to do it online) but it makes your document look professional none-the-less.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

12 thoughts on “Using Scrivener to Create a Proof Manuscript

  1. A fellow blogger commented on my post today (about my initial struggles with Scrivener) and pointed me in the direction of your blog. I’ll definitely be stopping by frequently and I even favorited this specific post for when my novel is finished. Thanks for posting!

  2. I truly appreciate your help with Scrivener. I’m a techie, but I haven’t given enough time to play as I should. I’m impatient to getting to the producing phase rather than knowing everything this software can do (which is really unlike me). I like that you’ve already “pushed buttons” so that I don’t have to. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the information. I’ve recently started using Scrivener and I’ve run into a small problem you might be able to help me solve. I have a short, one-page prologue, but Scrivener wants to mark my prologue as “Chapter 1”. Do you know if there is a way to either suppress the chapter designation for that first section, or to somehow designate it as a prologue? I’ve been trying to find a solution for this for quite a while now and have been unsuccessful.

      1. Great! That worked, and now I won’t have to renumber all of my subsequent chapters!

        I first tried clicking the “Compile As is” in the meta-data box in the “inspector” area, and that did’t work. Then I tried running the compile again, but this time when the compile screen popped up, I went to the “contents” section and selected “Compile As Is” for the prologue, and it worked like a charm.

      2. Is there a way to designate it as a prologue, or do you have to do your best to format the “Prologue” title to the same settings as each “Chapter” title, insert it into the prologue and hit “as is?”

      3. Could you please explain what you mean by “it”? I think I know what you mean, but I want to make sure so as to answer your question thoroughly.

      4. Sorry. I figured out how to not label the prologue as “Chapter One” and instead title it “Prologue.” It required me to place the prologue into a separate file.

        What I can’t figure out now is how to put space between “Chapter ?” and the main body of the chapter. As of now, “Chapter ?” is only one return above the body.

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