We just had what turned into a big storm in Washington, DC. It was predicted to be 1-3 inches, which usually means that my area won’t get much of anything. Instead, most of it seemed to be in my area, and it was more like 6 inches. The cities were not prepared, and the schools were bouncing between two hour delays and closed. That’s the story of winter weather in this area — we always get snow, and no one seems to know what to do when we get it! But here’s some cute videos of our new panda playing in the snow.
For my book, Murder on Morro Strand, I’m using Scrivener for Windows. I was one of the beta testers when it first came out because I was really frustrated with Word. It wasn’t because of all the usual complaints people make about it, though. I don’t always get my ideas in order, so I tend to bounce around the entire file. That works okay with 20 pages, but 200 becomes a big problem. It gets really unwieldy.
Plus, sometimes I have to add a scene or rearrange them, and Word’s not good for that once the file gets too big. I did everything to try to help the process, like using styles, but in many respects, they added to the frustration because they sometimes didn’t work as expected. I wanted to write, not fuss with the formatting!
But Scrivener is made for writers, and one of the things I really like about it is that you can use whatever you want and ignore the rest. The program doesn’t assume you outline, or that you don’t outline. The only thing it assumes is that you’re writing, which is cool.
I create a folder for each chapter, called Chapter 1, etc. Then I create a text file for each scene, so it might be Scene 1, or if I have two scenes in a chapter, Scene 1A and Scene 1B. I don’t give them any other fancy names, since I find these a distracting and I just need to write, not fuss about scene names.
I don’t use the corkboard at all — no scene summaries, no status changes, no labels. I also don’t use the character templates or the setting templates. In fact, I also ignore the research section, too.
But what I do get is that I can easily hop from Scene 31 to Scene 2 if I want. I can insert a new scene anywhere I want to — I’ll have to adjust the appropriate labels, but that’s easy enough. I can also move a text file from chapter to chapter with a keyboard shortcut or drag and drop.
One of the other features I like is that it tells me how many words I wrote. Since my word count can bounce up and down as I’m thinking, I cut words I’m deleting as part of this process and dumping them in an extras file. That’s not like a file where writers save snippets to use later — if it goes in the extras file, it’s not getting used again. But it allows me to track how many words I write do I can give myself credit. One of the problems with the project targets is that if you delete a sentence because you realize it isn’t needed, Scrivener subtracts that from your progress total. It is entirely possible to do a lot of writing and end up with a negative number!