How Scrivener is Helping Me Rebuild My Dissertation

I made a bold step today and dismantled my dissertation. My advisor said that the current draft is like a jigsaw puzzle. I have most of the pieces, but they need to be rearranged. I am a visual thinker, so the best way that I can think of dismantling and reshuffling a document is to use Scrivener. That means I had to strip the beautifully formatted Word document in order to bring it into Scrivener (keep in mind, this is a fully-formatted document with front matter, footnotes linked to Endnote, bibliography, etc. This process hurt, I’m not going to lie). Scrivener will help me rebuild the document, and it will be better because of it.

Here is the step-by-step process I took:

  • created a new Scrivener document
  • removed all the annotations and comments from the Word document.
  • saved the Word document as an .rtf (because Scrivener works with .rtf documents)
  • imported the .rtf document into the “Research” folder in the Scrivener Binder. The beauty of this is that all the footnotes are preserved. However, the Endnote links are broken. I will eventually have to go back and rebuild those. It will be tedious, but not horrible.
  • Highlighted each header of the document, right clicked the “Split with selected text as title” option to dissect the document into Scrivener cards, and arranged the cards into the outline hierarchy of the original Word document.
  • highlighted the entire outline in the Binder and changed the icon to a brown book.
  • duplicated the entire outline and changed the icon to a blue book. This allowed me to have a static reference of the original document–marked as a brown book–and movable pieces to place into the new draft–marked as a blue book.
  • created a new outline in the Draft Binder, based on the proper chapter structure.
  • Moved the blue book pieces of the old draft into the new chapter structure.

Now I can see all the pieces from the previous draft in relation to the gaping holes in the new draft. When it is all done, then I can hit “Compile,” save it as a Word Document, and use the Luther Template to format it to specs again.

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