If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time it’s probably not a surprise to learn that I’m a BIG, as in HUGE, fan of Scrivener writing software. As with any new software program there’s a bit of a learning curve though the folks at Literature and Latte who designed Scrivener has kept that curve quite shallow with some very simple to follow instructional videos and a 30-day trial period…plenty of time to get hooked and to wonder how you ever lived without it.
Okay, enough of a sales pitch. You can learn more about Scrivener here, including that it’s available for both the PC and Mac (for which it was originally designed.)
Today’s article is about a feature I learned to use that has helped me mightily in the organizing of my latest book, Babble, which is also the novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2013. (More about Babble can be found here.) In Babble I decided that the story needed more view points than my average work of fiction as well as a series of flashbacks. What I discovered is that I could keep these multiple viewpoints straight by colorizing the different scenes.
For example, the scenes in the the point-of-view (POV) of Angie in current time are in yellow while the flashbacks are in orange. The scenes in Bobbie’s POV (her son) as he traverses his inner landscape is in red and Arnez, the Homeland Security agent POV’s scenes are in light blue. As you can see in the larger image, I broke the various scenes into chapters folders that appear in green. For the most part, I did that when I started the revision process. I found during NaNoWriMo it was easier to focus the writing scene-by-scene.
Not worrying about chapter breaks in the first draft worked well for me. During this writing process I also learned from Mary Robinette Kowal of Writing Excuses that one of the ways to use chapter breaks is as a pacing tool. I interpret that to mean that if you want the pace to build momentum, use shorter chapters. If I understood that advice incorrectly, someone straighten me out. (Please…before I submit Babble to agents or self-publish it.)
Okay, It’s Your Turn
Scrivener is an amazingly powerful tool for writers. If you’ve used it and discovered something that has helped you be better organized and/or write better, why not share it here? Of course, you can also post your questions here, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
And if you’ve enjoyed this blog article or others here, your assignment is simple — share the blog with others.