Obscurities – Inside the Package

Time for a little more behind-the-scenes about Obscurities. The text side of the whole package was put together with Scrivener, which I use for all my writing, but this time I dug deeper into the facilities within the software than I have ever done writing short stories and novels. As well as producing the Obscurities Novella, I used it to create and arrange the CD-style PDF booklet included with the album download. As there are 46 tracks on the album, over the course of the editing process I rearranged the running order several times, but did not want to have to copy and paste all the text around manually as I added the notes about each piece.

Descriptions and titles

The text for each track was written straight after recording, so was grouped in chronological order rather than the final running order. The first step to making it all more manageable was to split the text up into snippets, one for each track. Scrivener has a very quick way of doing this: just highlight the title and choose ‘Split selection at title’ (ALT+CMD+K). Repeat for every title and you end up with a list of text files, one per track, just like this (notice the original bold titles are now the file titles on the left):


To each file I then added a standard header using the special tags (e.g. <$Title>)that would display the track number and title in bold, with the instruments used in an italic list underneath. Then I then chose the Outliner view, which shows each file in a list, with one row per file, as shown in the following image. You’ll notice that there is a column called ‘TrackNo’; this was created with the custom meta-data facility that lets you add your own fields to each text file. It meant that all I needed to do was change the track number in the list and re-sort it to quickly update the running order.


Whilst it it possible to enter the instruments into the list as they are shown, there is an easier way. First, show the Keywords display (as below), then enter a keyword for each instrument. Once the list is complete, it is a simple task to drag and drop the keywords onto the tracks on which they appear.


Using keywords also makes it easy to find which tracks used a certain instrument, using the search facility – quite handy when you are looking for 1 track out of 46! Once it is time to compile the output, Scrivener fills in the tags with the appropriate text, with very pleasing results:


The image above is part of the finished booklet, which contains many more tracks, photographs and background to the album (e.g. links to the software used, etc.) and comes as part of the Bandcamp album download – grab your copy now!

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