Another Scrivener Note

I am now back at the word-grindstone, after having re-ordered and pulled, poked and prodded my manuscript into something now resembling the “correct order”.  If such a thing exists.

You are only reading this because I have already hit my wordcount for the day and I have decided to share a brief aside.

As I start filling in the gaps in this novel; fleshing out scenes I’ve added solely as index cards in the corkboard view of Scrivener, I was struck by just how exciting the process can be.  Instead of floundering around in Word, cutting and pasting and losing whole chunks of text hither and thither, everything is easily assimilated into the whole.

This is how I have approached this:

  1. Write the words as one long Word document.
  2. Print out said document.  (Note – it’s long).
  3. Retype, altering, redrafting and editing as I go, placing into primitive chapters.  (Names appear instead of TK POLICEWOMAN, passages are excised, others added).
  4. Once this is complete, go through the whole, inserting breaks at the end of a scene.  (Easy really, given the primitive chapters already present and I have aTK, lready put in space where the scenes/POV alter).
  5. Now, sit back and look at the whole.
  6. Diarise events.  I mentioned this recently; I am using iDailyDiary to do this.  It does what I need.
  7. Realise events are all over the place in time (and space).  Alter them into something resembling the order I want.  Some disappear (deliberately) at this stage, placed in a “Homeless Scenes” folder in the project.
  8. Add index cards into the spaces where I have realised new scenes are needed.
  9. Sit back again, admire the pretties.  What was a beautifully ordered corkboard now looks manic, with “Chapter Eleven-4” now preceding “Chapter Nine-3”.  (By typing the chapter numbers during stage 3, above, and then splitting as per stage 4, this is how the titles now appear).
  10. I also use the “Label” function to record status by colour coding the card — whether the scene is a first draft (bright red), second draft (dark orange), third draft (light orange), final draft (yellow), first edit (dark green), second edit (green) or, finally, final edit (light green).
  11. In addition I add which POV is used in the scene by using the “Status” function (now labelled “POV”) — this gives the character name across the card.
  12. Each card also has a brief summary added AFTER the scene is crafted and the above steps are followed.  Although I have a rough plan (and indeed an entire first draft), I do not like to start out with a comprehensive outline as I find it wastes time and encourages procrastination.

I also find writing “how I work” pieces for this blog ALSO encourage procrastination, so time to go.  But I hope the above is useful.

Again, to reiterate — Scrivener really is fantastic software for the writer (and I mean anyone who writes, not just authors, but project managers, diary-writers, recipe keepers etc etc).  I have no affiliation with the company, beyond being a hugely satisfied user of the product.  Try it!

This piece was written with my sister, Lydia, in mind — given that she has FINALLY tried it herself and is already seeing the benefits.  Good news all round.

Back to the proper work, I have a forensic crime-scene examination to write.

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