How Dabble’s Organization Works
Dabble isn’t an ordinary writing platform, it’s much more dynamic. Want to read the entirety of your book at the same time? You can do that. Want to read just one scene at a time? You can do that too.
As you learned in the Getting Started How To, Dabble has files and folders (just like File Explorer in Windows computers and Finder in Mac computers.) Each folder has files and sub-folders to store elements of your book.
Manuscript View (Folder)
Book View (Folder)
Chapter View (Folder)
Scene View (File)
Chapters work within Books, Scenes work within Chapters. For instance, you can’t have a Scene floating around outside of a Chapter, like under Manuscript instead. All Scenes need Chapters, and all Chapters need Books. Views in Dabble work on a Folder → File macro to micro scale. Since the Scene is a smaller file than the Book folder, the Scene View is a more focused (micro) view than the larger, overarching Book View. If this sounds too much like Econ 101, scroll down for a visual interpretation of each view.
Now that you understand how Dabble organizes the elements of your story, here are all the different Views Dabble offers.
From the home view, you can access any book in your collection. Dabble knows you’re a prolific writer, and provides as many blank manuscripts as you need. Just click that plus button for each new story.
Pro: View all your books in one place, starting with the most recent.
Con: Can’t do any writing here, hurry, open a book!
Special Talent: Clicking on a book moves it to the first position in Home View. Most recently written books show up first and forgotten manuscripts find themselves at the bottom.
View your story in chronological order with all Scenes displayed (those white cards you see below). For all you visual learners, this view is for you. Better than reading a list of Chapters, the tactile look-and-feel of the Scene Notes in Manuscript View is a great way to “see” how your story unfolds.
Pro: A more visual way to view your book. Part dividers, Chapters, and Scenes all display here.
Con: While you can add to your Scene Notes, you can’t write your book in this View.
Special Talent: Scenes are drag-and-drop so you can rearrange ill-fitting Story Lines while looking at your whole book at-a-glance.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for an even more visual way to view your book, try the Plot Grid.
A place to write! ALL elements of your book show up here. The title, the author, parts, chapters, scenes. Scroll through your book to read it uninterrupted from prologue to epilogue.
Pro: This traditional start-to-finish view is a very comfortable work space if you’re new to Dabble. This view is most similar to your computer’s word processing program.
Con: It takes forever to scroll to a particular scene. Use the left-hand nav menu and Chapter View to move around more quickly.
Special Talent: See your word count in the top right-hand margin of the title page.
From here, view only the Chapter you’re currently writing. Highlight the Chapter in the left-hand nav menu and, there it displays. When you scroll to the bottom, the page ends when the Chapter ends. To get to the next Chapter, go back to the left-hand nav menu and choose another Chapter to work on.
Pro: This view helps you focus on the Chapter at hand, therefore it’s the best place to write your actual story text.
Con: You can only access one Chapter at a time. (To access all Chapters, try Book View instead).
Special Talent: All scenes inside Chapters are viewable in Chapter View. Scenes are separated by three * * * symbols.
Scene view is very similar to Chapter view, only it doesn’t display the Chapter title and drills down to just the one scene.
Pro: This is the most micro view of your text. All other Chapters and Scenes aren’t accessible via scoll, so you’re free to zero-in on this small slice of your story.
Con: Since the context is so focused, flip back to Chapter View every so often to make sure this scene fits the bigger picture of your story.
Special Talent: Scene notes are still accessible from the right-hand nav menu. (This isn’t unique to the Scene View as they’re accessible from both Chapter and Book View too. But they’re especially helpful in Scene View!)
Plot Grid View
The Plot Grid lets you move Plot Lines and Plot Scenes around on little cards. This is a great way to visualize your story and map out each plot element. There are two types of Plot Grids: Manuscript View which auto-generates Chapters and Scenes in your book’s Manuscript; and Generic View which doesn’t auto-generate Chapters and Scenes, making it a great choice for plotting multiple books in a series. See way more about the Plot Grids here.
Pro: An organized way to visualize and plan your story, and add notes all in one place.
Con: Although, good for notes, this section doesn’t add text to your book.
Special Talent: Plotting your book! The logic of your book and its plots depend on the Plot Grid.
Plot Line View
This view is inside the Plot Grid, of each individual Plot Line. A Plot Line is a section of your story such as the romance of of Jane and Mr. Bingley within Pride and Prejudice or all the scenes with the mice vs Lucifer in Cinderella. The Plot Line view helps you focus on the intertwining plots within your story.
Pro: Homes in on a single Plot Line, rather than on all the twists and turns of your book.
Con: Plot Line View is more effective after you create a Plot Grid and fill in a few Plot Scenes first.
Special Talent: The easiest place to view all your Scene Notes together. Read more about Scene Notes below.
Story Notes View
Story Notes are just that - notes about your story. Include random musings about your main characters or build lavish imaginary worlds. These notes are only accessible in the Story Notes section, and don’t show up in any other view. Book View for instance, doesn’t feature your Story Notes as part of the book. They’re totally hidden. Think of this section like a back door into your brain. Muahahaha!
Pro: Best place to put unorganized thoughts about your book. Since your notes don’t show up anywhere else in the Dabble system, jot plenty of bad ideas down here (just don’t forget to write down all the good ideas too!).
Con: Reading all your notes at the same time can be overwhelming. Separate them into individual Note View sections (see below) so as to not mix up your villain's character traits with those of the wildlife on your purple planet.
Special Talent: If you’re not satisfied with a Chapter or Scene, you can save it for later by dragging-and-dropping it into the Story Notes.
Story Notes - Folder View
There are two default folders in Story Notes: Characters and World Building. Add more folders to hold different components of your book. Have a folder for each character family or folders for scientific research or whatever else strikes your fancy.
Pro: A great way to make sure your characters don’t have too many overlapping traits or your carefully created Western town isn’t missing a saloon. Tarnation!
Con: You can’t view your folders from your Book View, so flip back to your Story Notes for reference.
Special Talent: Keeps all your notes organized by category.
Story Notes - Note View
The most drilled-down view of your notes. Each character can have its own note and each possible murder location, far off kingdom, or magical realm can also have its own note. Separate notes for everyone/everything. Huzzah!
Pro: Focus on one character or location or story aspect at a time.
Con: Since notes are separate files within Dabble, you can’t scroll through them. Go back to Folder View for full scrolling access to all your notes.
Special Talent: Unfinished Chapters and Scenes function like notes when they’re under the Story Notes folder. Finish writing them here, then move them back to your Manuscript.
In addition to ways to view your book, Dabble has customizable preferences to literally see your book in a different light.
Auto-fade removes all the menus and notes from your page helping you focus. It’s accessible from the Book, Chapter, Scene, and Story Note Views. After you’ve typed without moving your mouse for six consecutive seconds, everything fades out so you can focus.
Pro: You can turn this feature on or off in the preferences. (Click your name in the top right nav bar, and select Preferences.)
Con: Scene Notes aren’t viewable in Focus Mode. Move your mouse to un-fade your screen.
Special Talent: If you’re in a hurry, turn on the Auto-fade with the tiny square icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen.
Click on the square icon in the bottom right-hand corner of Dabble to force auto-fade on. Turn off automatic auto-fade from the Preferences menu.
Light or Dark Mode
Dabble is available in a dark mode as well as the default light mode. Dark screens are easier on your eye health, especially during marathon writing sessions lasting a few hours or more.
Pro: Flip back and forth as often as you like. Write in the light mode during the day, then write in dark mode during the night. (Click your name in the top right nav bar, and select Preferences.)
Con: No real con here, your books and eyes will thank you for using either mode.
Special Talent: Also helps you customize the mood of your book. Dark mode just looks better on a mystery novel, whereas light mode is great for medical dramas.
Share your favorite view with other writers in the Dabble Community forum. Thanks for viewing this Views How To!