Monday, January 12, 2015

Keep Calm & Scrivener On!

So, I'm reading through my NaNo draft and finding lots to like...and more than a few things that just don't work. Pretty normal for a 1st draft, I'd say.

I've now realized I've got to switch the order of 2 of the Major Events. This will entail millions (or so it seems) of ripple effect changes throughout the entire story. More or less a complete rewrite while keeping the essence of the story.

Slightly terrifying! Exciting too.

If you've used Scrivener, you know that you can make notes on each file (scenes for me) and notes for the entire document. I use that one to keep track of the Big Idea Changes I need to make -- things like making one character more evasive, make the other crankier, keep the sexual tension up, add description etc.

I also keep a couple of folders that aren't part of the ms. Inside my Outlines folder, I have my rather pathetic attempts to plot. One is a (far too brief) synopsis, another has a chart outlining proposed chapters, another has a bullet list for main ideas of each chapter, and so on. Because I might actually be the world's worst plotter, there are far too many files and I'm about to add at least one more with my newest ideas for rearranging the plot lines. Hoping to find a method that really works for me soon,

Another folder is my To Do Folder with Things to Add, Big Ideas, & Fix This!

Depending on my mood and need, I can keep one of these files open alongside my current chapter. Or I can keep my current chapter in one window and the new version in the other. GREAT way to use the good bits and eliminate the garbage.

Then, I can easily slip the scenes around the MS with a few drags of the mouse. For me, it makes the rewriting process a lot less daunting and the mountain I've got to climb doesn't seem as steep.

Are you a Scrivener fan? Any tips to share? How do you feel about those major rewrites? Any magic wands to turn me into a Plotter Extraordinaire?


  1. I use Scrivener, but I'm sure I don't make good use of even a quarter of its features! I need to find a really good revision system ...

  2. Never used Scrivener. I think it would confuse me.
    Don't know what would turn you into a plotter. I just know I could never wing a story. I have to plot it to death first.

  3. I just use Word, but I hear good things about Scrivener. Hope you find a system that works well for you!

  4. I was well into my current manuscript when I discovered Scrivener. I'm hoping to use it when I start my next one!

  5. I don't use Scrivener. In listening to (rather, reading) what people have to say about it, I doubt I have the organizational skills to master it. I tend to keep a separate document where I stow my large cuts, and sometimes a separate one for things like additional ideas or notes as I read through.

    Major rewrites can be kind of terrifying, but also exhilarating, especially when you see how it can all be see much better. Good luck with the rewrite!

  6. I've never tried Scrivner although I know a lot of people who use it. A word document and some scribbled notes works for me.

  7. Never tried Scrivener though I know a lot of people like it. Hope it helps you a lot as you revise your manuscript. Sounds like you have a great plan.

  8. Nope, never used Scrivener. I use Word and One Note (I also have a notebook that I scribble in). There are a lot of tools out there to dovetail with writer's styles and needs.

    No words of wisdom except keep slugging away. :-)

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  9. I have never used Scrivener, but I have been curious about it. It sounds like it has really cool features which would help me with my editing process.

    For now I use Word or Google Docs and then when I need to revise I write myself notes and cross them out when I make the change. :)

    Wishing you the best of luck with your revisions!

  10. I haven't gone the way of Scrivener yet. I keep thinking "this is my last book, so why?" Glad it's working out for you.

  11. I've gotten better at my first drafts but I used to use them like an outline and then totally retype the book for the second draft. Made it easy to make big changes like you're describing but it took a lot of time.

  12. I like the Stephen King approach as he goes through his MS four or five times. Then its off to the editor. I haven't gotten that good yet, but I did much better on my current MS.

  13. Belle - you and me both!!!

    Alex - I Wish! Although I love the magic of creating the story without a plan :)

    Elizabeth - me too - it's hard!

    Beth - yay! I'd definitely wait until you start with a fresh ms!

    Jeff - thanks! I'm hoping the rewrite will rock!

    Diane - I started that way, but got lost too easily!

    Natalie - I hope so, but I'm not holding my breath!

    Sia - and that's the best advice of all!

    Jess - that sounds like a good plan too!

    Lee - I don't think I'd write another story without it!

    Susan - I've actually been kind of doing that - and I like it! :)

    Stephen - good for you! I'm getting better too ... thankfully!

  14. I've never used Scrivener, though so many people rave about it. I love my Word.

  15. Compared to me, you ARE a plotter extraordinaire!!

    Sounds like you're enjoying Scrivner. I'm still not sure if I'd enjoy it. I'm too simple-minded to use all the neat tricks it provides.

  16. I had a free beta version, I believe, on my last computer, but I never used it. I would like to explore it one day.

  17. Lynda - I did too, but now I'm a convert! :)

    Ava - I probably only use 1/10th of the tricks Scrivener has, but I love it!

    Medeia - I think you'd love it - but I'd start trying it with a new ms, not one in progress :)

  18. I only heard of what I call "screwdriver" because I keep reading that when I see it like once and that was two days ago from Carrie butler. To which I replied..."you're way smarter than me".

  19. I've tried to use Scrivener, but I don't think my brain is wired for it. Sigh. I have done a rewrite by changing one tiny item in the premise - it changed EVERYTHING about the story. And it was so worth the time and effort. Do it!

  20. Hi Jemi!

    I have Scrivener but I haven't yet had time to explore it.

  21. I love Scrivener.
    Fix This! is a note at the end of pretty much every one of my scenes...

  22. I've never used Scrivener. Sounds like a great tool for a very organized person. I'm not very organized.

  23. I've told myself that I'd get Scrivener before I start my next book. Well, I'm querying this one so it's time to start the sequel. And I'm really nervous about breaking in a whole new writing software. Good old Word and I have been together so lung.

  24. Tammy - lol - but you might like it! :)

    Carol - that's good to hear! I'm digging in :)

    RR - for me, it was best to start with a new project - so much easier to learn that way!

    Deniz - you and me both!

    Linda - good luck with those queries! I didn't find it that big of a change, but I loved it :)

  25. Haven't tried any fancy things live Scrivener. Might help me--if I could figure it out. Good to know that you are progressing with your writing.

    Tossing It Out

  26. You have too many folders! Relax and have fun.

  27. Lee - it's not nearly as scary as its reputation! I really like it :)

    Yvonne - that might just be true!

  28. I do need to bring out Scrivener and use would mean I'd have to actually write!

  29. Wow, Scrivener sounds really neat. I don't use it (yet -- maybe I will someday), but I do have 2-3 separate Word docs of notes for each MS that I work on. So maybe Scrivener would be good for me. Good luck with revisions!

  30. I know it does good things. I know a lot of people who use it. I still don't! I have it. I don't use it. I just go through my word document, and move things, delete things, leave myself comments, etc.

    Exciting that you found a lot to like in your NaNo novel!

  31. Nas - that definitely helps! :)

    Shelley - it actually didn't take me long to become addicted to it - but I'd start with a new story :)

    Elana - I used to do that too - but I find this way so much easier! :)

  32. Hey Jemi,

    Good grief, never heard of Scrivener. It does seem that you are enthusiastic about it.

    Nice to know you are getting satisfaction out of your NaNo draft. Mork and Mindy would be proud :)

    Have a good weekend, eh.


  33. Gary - they would indeed! NaNu NaNu :)