Improving chapters

So, Novlr lets you create, import and split chapters, as well as move them around easily – but what will the next version of chapters bring? Here are some of the suggestions people have made so far, what do you think?

  • Allow the creation of a prologue and epilogue
  • Scenes within chapters
  • A chapter summary
  • No automatic Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 numbering
  • Combine chapters

Are these good ideas? Got any others?

Status

This feature is in development!

TELL US IF YOU WANT THIS FEATURE:

264+
64 replies
  1. admin says:

    Eleanor’s comments by email:

    * Forcing us to name our chapters, instead of allowing a blank name, is cluttered and it looks silly. It also restricts us from using our own naming and numbering structure; e.g. I prefer “Scene 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3” to “Chapter 1, Chapter 2” and there’s no way to override the default.

    Reply
  2. Clare says:

    Support via email from Jenn – “The ability to write by scene and not just by chapter. This would make it easier to move scenes around or write out-of-order.”

    Reply
  3. Graham Brand says:

    I agree with Eleanor that it would be good to have control over the chapter numbering convention. I use the chapter titles as short descriptors of what the chapter is about, i.e. as my outline, but I can see why some people would want them to be blank.

    Regarding Jenn’s suggestion, if more control was available over the chapter numbering convention, and a folder structure was implemented so that ‘chapters’ could be nested, then the existing chapters could work equally as well as scenes nested in chapters (or as chapters nested in acts).

    Please don’t go to a tree like outline view, though. I like the chapter presentation in Novlr. I think you could indicate the folder structure just by indenting the panel content slightly. The aesthetics of Novlr are great as they are.

    Reply
    • Jenn Lyons says:

      I tend to have a lot of small scenes nested in a larger chapter. What you’re suggesting might work for some, but for me, it would make each chapter so bloated I would end up scrolling a LOT to get from one side of my book to another. I’d like some way of collapsing chapters so the they are nicely tucked out of the way when I don’t need to drill down to individual scenes.

      Reply
      • Graham Brand says:

        I’d be happy for there to be a way of expanding and collapsing the chapters. When I said I didn’t want a ‘tree view’ I meant that I didn’t want the look and feel of the chapter sidebar replaced with a standard tree-style file explorer.

        Reply
    • Clare says:

      Thanks for your comments Graham – they’re really useful to help us improve our chapters feature. We like the simplicity of how the chapters are laid out at the moment so would just be looking to improving the features within. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Graham Brand says:

    I’m slightly wary of “No automatic Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 numbering”. Hopefully this means adding an option to remove the numbering.

    There’s also a difference between what’s useful when writing and what you want to see in the final output, so options to set the numbering conventions for both the interface and for the printed or exported output would be useful.

    Reply
  5. Zoe K. Brewer says:

    As already mentioned via email, I would love the scenes feature and a chapter summary option. So I second those 🙂 I don’t care about prologue and epilogue. Combining chapters sounds useful, but not a priority for me.

    Thanks for doing this, guys!

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Thanks for your comment Zoe – three has been lots of comments for scenes and chapter summaries so we will definitely be looking into them. Keep the suggestions coming!

      Reply
  6. Heather Meloche says:

    I would love to be able to NOT name chapters, just use numbers, and to have movable scenes within chapters for writing and re-organizing as needed.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Heather. Thanks for your comment – what is it that you would be looking for that is different to how it currently is as you don’t have to name chapters at the moment, you can call them 1,2,3 or chapter 1,2 or 3? We will be looking into creating scenes as it has been quite a popular request – we’ll see what we can do! Thanks again

      Reply
  7. Chelsei says:

    I would love to be able to write scenes (more easily) within chapters, as well as having the option to add an Epilogue and Prologue without them counting as chapters. In addition, it only makes sense to be able to combine chapters if we have the option to split chapters (which we do). I agree with these previously listed points! 😀

    Reply
    • Chelsei says:

      Not sure if this was already mentioned, but it does connect with chapters: how about being able to (as an option, of course) add a Table of Contents where clicking on the respective chapter/chapter title leads to the chapter in the novel?

      Reply
      • Clare says:

        Thanks for commenting Chelsei. Like the contents page idea, and the links within. It could definitely be something we look into creating for a future version. Keep the suggestions coming!

        Reply
  8. Matt Wilkinson says:

    I think it would be a shame to remove the chapter numbering as it’s quite convenient. Maybe you could leave it to the user and add smart numeration? As in, the chapter isn’t numbered unless e.g. the user enters ‘chapter 1’ into one of the chapter names, then the app could pick up from there and auto number them in the same format from then on, similar to how word processor programs add numbers to bullet points. If it could also pick up on other formats of numeration of chapters, like spelled numbers or spelled numbers without the ‘chapter’ prefix.

    Reply
  9. Matt Wilkinson says:

    Also, if we’re going to have scenes in chapters, could we also have chapters inside ‘parts’? e.g. Chapters 1 to 25 nested in Part I etc.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Thanks Matt – great suggestions. Smart numerations is a good one and something that would need to be looked into. Also, the option to have parts would be a good addition. Keep the suggestions coming, we want to get this right 🙂

      Reply
  10. Marie Dees says:

    I’ll contribute money if you can make writing by scene and then organizing those into a chapter happen. It’s how I write. Scrivener won’t work on my tablets (no browser based view) and I need something that lets me work flexibly.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Marie. Thanks for your comment. We will be looking into creating scenes within Chapters. Mark and Kim, the developers will have to look into a way of working them into the system so keep an eye out for when we do!

      Reply
    • Graham Brand says:

      I’d like this too. It’s easy, of course, to go into each chapter to check, but it would make reviewing where your draft might need expanding, cutting or splitting one small step more obvious.

      Reply
  11. Samantha Gale says:

    The only things I like about the automatic numbering, and which I don’t know if I would want to lose, is 1) that re-ordering them automatically changes the number and 2) I can easily see how many chapters I have without opening the right-hand menu. The ability to simply do without the chapter titles if desired would, I think, be more useful than removing the numbers altogether, if we’re looking at one vs the other instead of having different options. Given my stance on this, I think that epilogue and prologue options would be nice, but if the automatic numbering were to go away and we were to be responsible for naming our own chapters, it would seem unnecessary unless the formatting would be different (which I don’t think it should).

    I also agree wholeheartedly about being able to nest chapters into parts, though scenes are unnecessary for me.

    Also, wouldn’t a quick copy-and-paste work for combining chapters? Maybe if scenes were added it would make more sense…

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Samantha. Thanks for your comments. It’s good to know that you like the current feature of the numbered chapters. Having the option for ‘parts’ could be something we will look into developing for a future release. 🙂

      Reply
  12. James says:

    Writing by scene is super important as well as being able to drag and drop them where needed.

    perhaps you can implement a, by the book, method of chapter naming.
    You could have a list of the different ways of naming chapters and you could select from them, many of which could be automated like some of the ways that have been mentioned above.

    Yea, basically look at trying to make an online version of Scrivener.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Thanks for your comment James. I like the idea of people being able to choose which chapter options they want to use. It could take a bit of working through and testing first though. But it could definitely be something for the future to make Novlr even better. 🙂

      Reply
  13. Cyndilu says:

    I would love to be able to in addition to the automatic numbering of chapters also have the ability to change those names if I need to. Also agree the ability to combine chapters in the same was as the splitting chapters would be great. And finally – the ability to add intros or epilogue type chapters that are not within the numbered structure would be awesome. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Thanks Cyndilu! The combining of chapters seems to be quite a popular suggestion so we will be looking into that for you guys. Same goes for the prologue and epilogue features 🙂

      Reply
  14. MG says:

    What about making it possible to move a chapter out into a different novel? I know that probably sounds silly when you first read it and you think why would you want to do that but here’s the thing, sometimes I’ll start writing a scene and get into and realize it doesn’t really fit with what I’m working on but I don’t want to just delete it because it’s still a good scene I just want to cut it from the current story, so it would be nice to be able to split that into it’s own chapter and move it into something else. When I’m writing in word I’ll copy and paste it into a “misc bits” doc or something and I could still do that but it would be nice if I could just drag it out into something else or maybe just have the option to export only that chapter to a file or something.

    Reply
  15. Clare says:

    Good suggestion from Ryan via email: I’d like to be able to split the editor into two panes and display different chapters in each pane, or a chapter and the notes.
    Any other thoughts on this?

    Reply
    • Lisa says:

      Yes! Yes! Love that idea! Definitely love the idea of having a chapter notes section as well. I’d also like a settings card that I can go to as well as character cards. Sometimes the place, the room, the city, etc. is just as important as the characters. I want the option to add maps and or blueprints of places for my own reference as I’m writing.

      Reply
      • Clare says:

        Thanks for your comment Lisa – good to know this is something you would like to see. We’ll be looking at being able to upload images, videos and lots of other cool things as well.

        Reply
    • Clare says:

      Support for this from Marie via email: View / Review a chapter in a side or split view. When writing a novel, I often want to refer back to a previous chapter to see exactly what someone said or did or how I described something. Being able to open a chapter for review without exiting what I’m working on would be great.

      Reply
  16. Clare says:

    email suggestion from Tim:
    Duplicate chapter: click on chapter in sidebar shows “duplicate this chapter” option. Clicking this ….you’ll never guess…makes an exact copy of the chapter (conveniently named: “Copy of [chapter title]”.
    Why you ask?
    a) create multiple drafts (eg for short stories) of your single-chapter story
    b) to go nuts on a chapter and always come back to were you began (e.g. writing into a dead end)

    Reply
  17. Jerry says:

    Also would like to see the ability to move chapter and scenes to a slush pile area. You don’t want to throw things away immediately. AND then the ability to move them to another project.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Jerry. Thanks for your comment. This would be a great addition. It could work with the versioning feature as well to be able to save previous drafts of your work.

      Reply
  18. Naty says:

    I’m a big prologue person! So having my prologue numbered as chapter 1 frustrates my OCD-ness. I also would prefer not to have to name every chapter.

    Reply
  19. Clare says:

    Suggestion via email from Alyson: I think it would be really helpful to be able to add page breaks into a chapter to show when a chapter jumps from one time or place to another. For example, a straight line across the page or the ability to align text centrally to simply add an X or -X- in an easily seen location.

    Reply
  20. Daniel says:

    An idea I had earlier was to be able to put scenes as subsets of chapters. That is, in the left ‘panel’… thing (I’m quite the wordsmith) where our chapters are, perhaps we can have an option to insert scenes underneath the chapters. These subsets can be more like notes that we could refer back to when we work on the chapter as a whole. Giving us the option to move these subsets to other chapters, or make the subset a chapter unto itself, might even be beneficial.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Daniel. Thanks for your comment. Scenes have been suggested but I like your idea of where to put them in Novlr. Thanks for he suggestion and keep them coming!!

      Reply
  21. LV says:

    I found myself quickly wanting the ability to create sub-sections of the chapters into various scenes, more or less so I could keep myself on track and make sure I’m hitting all the scenes I’d planned for a particular part. I realized it would help greatly to be able to click on a sub-page for a scene within a chapter and re-write it/edit it to be more cohesive with other larger changes that might be made. I’ve read that others feel the same.

    I also like the idea of being able to show page breaks for time jumps/narrator changes/etc… so if the scene sub-pages wouldn’t be an option then definitely a page break would help delineate.

    I also second the “Notes” ability idea per chapter since usually we’ll have an over-arcing idea of what we plan for each chapter and the characters involved. It’d be nice to somehow quickly look at those notes somehow without it being intrusive to the flow of writing. Perhaps I’d just take a gander at it first before writing to jog my memory.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi LV, thanks so much for your comment. As you have said, a few users have mentioned that they would like to see scenes as part of Novlr so we will take that into consideration when we revisit chapters. Same goes for page breaks 🙂 We will be adding additional notes which should make it easier for the planning side of things and means you can have one notes section per chapter 🙂 Thanks again!

      Reply
  22. LV says:

    I also wanted to say that I’m thinking the idea to hide individual “chapters” or “scenes” would be a great option as well. Sometimes I’ll write something that I think might be good, then I just want to hide it because I’m not sure if it truly fits the tone of the section I’m working on (maybe want to hide it until I feel like revisiting it/re-writing it), but that it might work somewhere else in the novel. It would be great if I could have the option to “show all hidden” and then uncheck items that I would like to make visible again and have the ability to then move them where I see fit. I thought this idea might best be reflected in the “Chapters V2” feature.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      This is a great idea LV, thanks for sharing it. I completely agree that there are some things you write which you aren’t too sure about so it could be really nice to be able to hide it. Thanks again! 🙂

      Reply
  23. Marie says:

    Write by scene – PLEASE! I now have something called Chapter 24 that may be various chapters because I don’t write in a straight, linear fashion. I don’t need to know what time of day I wrote most or how much I write. I need to be able to write more effectively.

    Reply
  24. Clint says:

    I’m a writer – and I’ve always been taught the building blocks of being a writer are SCENES. Not chapters. A chapter to me is nothing more than a beginning and an ending bookmark, wrapped around one or more scenes. I may re-order scenes, insert new or remove them. Defining what chapters look like is the LAST thing on my mind. I do that at the end of the book.

    If Noveler is going to start by telling me to create chapters and structure myself that way – I can’t work like that. I’m surprised this isn’t a stumbling block for more writers. I believe writing SCENES is the way most of us were taught.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi CLint, Thanks so much for your comment. In the latest release, we have removed the chapter numbers so you can call them anything you like and organise them in whichever way you want to. Hope that is helpful for you but please let us know if there is anything else that would help. Calre 🙂

      Reply
  25. Clare says:

    A suggestion from Pam via email:
    Create a drag and drop feature to move chapters from one “novel” to another. I am working on a collection of short stories. Each chapter is a story. In editing, I realize that some stories belong in another collection. There is no simple way to move them.

    Reply
  26. LV says:

    I thought this might be a good spot to re-iterate my impassioned plea that Novlr opens up to the last “chapter” or “scene” we were working on. Though I enjoy the first scene I wrote, it’s getting old having to see it every time I log in. 🙂 Plus, it would allow me to quickly re-read what I last wrote before moving forward with my writing for the night.

    Reply
    • James Dickson says:

      Opening the last chapter or scene that was worked on would be really great. The first novel I created in Novlr isn’t the one I’m working on consistently at the moment, so it’s a bit of a bear when I get set down in that novel right after logging in when there’s another I want to work on

      Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi LV, thanks for bringing this to our attention again – I will forward it on to Thomas and Kim because I know we talked about it a while ago and see where we are with it. Thanks! 🙂

      Reply
  27. S.J. Hartsfield says:

    Seconded, thirded, etc.! I set up my novel a little out of order, so Novlr opens on something like Chapter 5 every time (as I set that one up first and rearranged chapters later). I’d love for it to pick up where I left off.

    Reply
  28. Cas V. says:

    Kind of the contrary of scenes – I’d love to be able to split my novel into a few bigger parts which each consist of several chapters. Basically an option for having a three-level hierarchy: parts, then chapters, and then scenes. I understand that most people might not need such a feature and will consider it a bit much, so… spontaneous thought, how about allowing to choose how many “levels” one needs? Probably even per project? I don’t necessarily need separate chapters for short stories, or parts for mid-length ones, but for my biggest projects so far I have always preferred the three-level variant. As for site aesthetics, Graham Brand suggested a slight indentation to indicate nesting structure, which sounds good to me. I’m not a fan of the “click here to expand” way either.

    Considering features that have already been suggested, the most relevant ones for me would be “no automatic numbering” (since I prefer either un-numbered chapters or Roman numerals) and the option to create prologues/epilogues.

    (Sorry for any mistakes, not a native speaker :/)

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Cas. Thank you so much for your comment. It’s great to hear your thoughts on the chapter side-bar and how you would like it to be organised. The addition of scenes and parts is definitely something we will be looking into for a potential future release and it’s good to collect thoughts and opinions on how it should be. Thanks again! Clare 🙂

      Reply
  29. Kris says:

    Hooking a status to each scene/chapter would be nice as well – roughin, 1st draft, 2nd draft, editing, final, etc. Then color-code them so you can see what’s in what state as you work on them.

    Reply
  30. Nicole says:

    I’m not a linear thinker at all, which means that I usually write a bunch of scenes and then group them into chapters. “Chapter” is another way to say “scenes container.” I’m used to using Scrivener, which facilitates this kind of modular writing. It would be great to see this implemented in Novlr too.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Nicole. Thanks for your comment! The ability to organise your chapters will be coming soon to Novlr so keep an eye out! Clare 🙂

      Reply
  31. Tiffany says:

    Sorry if this has already been mentioned, but I’d love the ability to color code each chapter/scene in the outline area on the left. I use this feature in Scrivener to be able to tell what stage each scene is at (edited, still needs to be written, etc.).

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Tiffany, thanks for your comment. We’ll be developing the Chapters/Scenes feature to be released at the end of November/early December so it’s great to hear your thoughts on it. Clare 🙂

      Reply
  32. Brian Knapp says:

    I’ve used Scrivener quite a bit and I didn’t realize how much being able to outline my book by chapter and scene was useful until I did it on my latest novel and it is working very well. Now I find it hard to work on my book without chapter/scene outlining. Novlr needs scene support in chapters to work with my workflow.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *