Back and Forth Between Scrivener and InDesign

The Beginning of a Long Journey

Jackie introduced me to Scrivener, a writing program. I wrote a draft script for Parts in it, using the Comic Script template provided with the program, and tips from its author Antony Johnston.

This format gave me automatically-incrementing page and scene numbers, which are adjusted on output. There were paragraph formats for character names, dialogue, narration, and more. It was a lot like the well-known screenwriting program Final Draft.

Final Draft itself is of course one of the well-known programs for screenwriting. It allows the writer to manage characters and plot points and make sure that all the loose ends are tied up. I believe that there is a detailed script output goes so far as to tabulate what characters (and therefore actors) and locations and even important props are in each scene (clearly useful in panning the shooting of a movie).

I have found that graphic-novel scripts are a lot more like screenplays than regular prose novels, and I tend to think more in pictures than text when creating story. I considered using Final Draft for my script, but decided to try Scrivener, as I found that Scrivener was a considerably lighter program, aimed more for writing.

However, Scrivener (and Final Draft) are text only. Parts is going to be a graphic novel. I decided to lay it out in Adobe InDesign, which I had used before. In InDesign I can design pages, choosing page size, margins, fonts, and so on. Then I cam import and place artwork. InDesign is much more flexible than Scrivener in the way that it can size and arrange artwork on a page. It places images and text in “frames”, which can themselves have different shapes and outlines. I immediately thought of dialogue boxes and word balloons in comics.

Ideally, I would like to write the script in Scrivener (or Final Draft for that matter), and export it in such a way that the structural information of the script is preserved. It would include not just a piece of text, but some record that the text was a piece of dialogue spoken by Character X.

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