I was new to Scrivener for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November last year. I had previously written in Word, however that had a tendency to make it hard to keep all the folders and files together. Scrivener changed all that. Suddenly I could write a novel, a short story and keep character sheets and notes all in the one place. I could add images and place notes in much the same way I’d done in one-note, and then decide what I wanted to export later.
It didn’t come for free or without a learning curve. That’s where the course on using Scrivener came in handy. It’s called “Learn Scrivener Fast” from Joseph Michael . Why learn it all on my own when I could take a tutorial to learn how the experts did it. Now this isn’t intended to be a push to buy the product, though I do think it’s great. If you think you can intuit your way into the best method on your own, knock yourself out. Personally, while I like to make how-to stuff, I rarely follow the directions exactly. So yes, there’s bits in the course you may not want. I encourage you to skip around and only do the bits you want to use. Sooner or later, the other bits will be there for you. All I want to say is that it saved me oodles of time and headaches.
The main thing I do with a Scrivener project is determine what the overarching world is.
- Start with the project name
- Change the name of the Chapters to the Sections I want
- Start a side ‘section’ for related stories (which I inevitably have)
- Make a bunch of text files inside the sections for scenes I know I’ll want to write
- Then add text scenes before and after those known scenes
- Make a set of character files
- Then start making notes to myself over in the right
- I use a corkboard to see the scenes all together – and drag and drop them into a different order
Then I start writing just about anywhere, sometimes at the start, though usually it’s the first scene where the action is. Then I just keep adding scenes as I go. Sooner or later, I’ll pop back out and make an outline – that means more scenes get layered in, though those are just a ‘stub’ with the outline of what will happen in them. I leave the stub in place until that scene gets written. I’ve been known to just stub in a scene and then keep going onto the next thing. I can always come back to it later or lose it if it’s not needed.
In November, I found that I was writing short stories that are back story for the main character, at the same time as I was writing book two. It should bother me to be writing at two very different points in time but it was fine. Each day, I’d just decide what I wanted to write and the variety made it less likely I’d get stuck. On days when I didn’t want to write anything in the stories, I spent my writing time outlining or building character sheets instead. When neither of those appealed, I edited something my partner wrote in his stories or wrote blog posts for one of my other blogs. That way I generally got 2000 to 5000 words a day some way or another.
I’d love to hear some of the ways others use Scrivener. Go ahead and use the comments section to add thoughts.
Happy writing – Ria