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Scene Heading — is it a "special" style?


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First off I've read and watched the associated screen cast for Creating a Template having more than one level. It was clear and easy to follow. I was able to set things up (more or less) for in my new document that I hope to be a template for comic scripting. The end result of this template is to export a plain text file, that's been formatted so I can import it into ComicLife to letter my comics.


My workflow is that I first do layouts and brief descriptions/dialog on either copy paper or in Manga Studio. Then I go to a writing app (which I hope will be Storyist) to do the actual scripting. Then I export the script as a plain text file, import the text file into ComicLife and drag and drop the captions, dialog balloons, etc and the story gets exported. In Manga Studio I import the lettered pages and refine my sketches. At this stage, sometimes I'll expand or add panels, which makes it important to be able to treat panels as discrete objects. It's a bit of back and forth until I get the flow of the story going well. At each draft stage (which ends when I start finishing the pencils of the drawing), I'll need to revise the script, export it and then import it into ComicLife for lettering. Such is the life of a cartoonist. :)




What I'm trying to do is to set up levels for Issues, Pages and panels that would comprise a complete story arc/graphic novel series. The script demands are light, only Page Descriptions, Panel descriptions, Character and Dialog are needed.


My idea for the outline for the levels are:


Arc/Novel name

Issue Number

Page Number

Page description (optional)

Panel Number

panel description



Using a document created from the Stage Play template, I was able to create the Headings for Issue Number and Page Number (Headings 1 and 2 respectively). However for the Panels I had to use the Scene Heading style as I would like the note cards to be titled with the text "Panel X" (where X is the number of the panel on the page). The Scene Heading style, when applied to text, creates a new section/note card and the Text I type in the Text view (I'm using a split window, left shows the storyboard view and the right shows the Text view). This is very handy, as it makes the index cards in the Storyboard view nice, as I can put on the cards brief descriptions of the panel's contents and view them as I write the script in the right hand Text view.


I tried to make a copy of the Scene Heading style, but it doesn't work like the original at all. The copy doesn't make a new index card, it behaves like a default text style. Also changing the name of the Scene Heading style makes it lose its ability to create new index cards/sections.


It's important that I have panels as individual sections/index cards as it fits my comic creation workflow. There are times that I need to expand or move around things and having panels as discrete index cards that can be re-arranged is just what I need.


SInce I want this document/soon-to-be-template to have just the styles it needs, I'm deleting the styles that a comic book script just doesn't need: Character Direction, Stage direction, etc. However, the darned Scene Heading style has to stay, as it can't be duplicated nor deleted without losing its properties (creating a new index card in storyboard view with a title that's created when it's typed in the Text View).


I've figured out that I can rename the element name in the "My Script" preferences that the Scene Heading is referred to from Scene Heading to "Panel" so that's fine.


My Question is: Am I correct in thinking that the Scene Heading style is a special one that can't be duplicated or re-named? If so, I'll have to deal with it. If not, please show me how it can be renamed/duplicated or how I can create a style that does what it does.


A related question: I've tried to add text after the Issue and Page styles (they're outline levels Heading 1 and 2, remember), but the Page description (outline level of default text style) and Issue description (also outline level of default text style) create a new "unnamed " index card. Is that the nature of styles that use Heading Outline Levels? These objects/index cards can't contain additional text beyond its title like the Scene Headings do?


Keep in mind I've lived a sheltered life -- I've not used MS word and only dabbled in Pages (basically as a reader for Word files). I'm only using OpenOffice because my book publisher required that I use it or Word. Prior to that, my text editors have been BBEdit, Scrivener and StoryMill. Therefore, I have absolutely no idea how things work in Word.


Hope I was clear. I'm still a newbie and learning the lingo.


Thanks so much for any replies.

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Hi Marguerite, thanks for confirming what I suspected, re: Scene heading. It is special and can't be duplicated or created "by scratch." However, I was able to rename it's entry in the outline organizer, so the menu command now says new Panel. So it's working fine. I have a good solid template for scripting comics. As soon as I have time to write up the "how to use this template" notes, I'll post it. Now that I'm past the learning curve a bit, I'm really liking Storyist. Glad I stuck with it. :)




thanks for all your help, Marguerite! It really helped me along.

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Hi Mike,

I apologize for the delayed reply. I was off-grid for a few days.

The code does treat the "Scene Heading" name as special (this is for compatibility with scripts created in Storyist 1), but the Paginate As: Scene Heading option in the style editor should allow you to have a style of any name act as a scene heading with respect to index cards and naming.


I'd be happy to look at your template and see what is going on if you'd like.


I'd also be interested in hearing about feature requests that would enhance your comic script workflow, so if something comes to mind as you're working, please feel free to post it.



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thanks for the reply, Steve! I thought is was something like being off-grid or being busy.


Good for the confirmation about Scene Heading being special. I'll try out the Scene Heading option in the style editor and see what that does. I think I may have tried it and it didn't work. But I was trying so many different things that it all kinda melts together.


The best practice for sharing a template is to just attach it to a posting, or send it to you direct (probably via the help address)? I know I've been adding new topics a lot, but I couldn't find any topics like the ones I was asking about. So when I do compile a list of comic template ideas and such, It'll be a new topic. Hope that'll be okay.


I'm doing the final rewrites on my Manga Studio 5 book this week and next, so it'll be a few weeks until I can post and share the comic template stuff.



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Hi Mike,


If the template is at the point that you don't mind sharing it, you can attach it to a post. If you'd like to send it to me directly, the best way is to use the support address. That way we'll have an email thread we can use to discuss it.



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