Writer's life Writing Writing tips

Using Scrivener

Monday, the first of June, I’m starting a new book again. I wrote two books in quick succession, so I needed a break of about two weeks. It was nice, but now I’m ready to write again. Not that I haven’t been plotting, but it’s different.

I’m planning on using Scrivener again. I’ve used it with Prelude to Poison and Poised to Quill, but not with The Exciting Life of a Minor Character. I don’t know why. It just didn’t ‘feel’ right to do it that way. I used my bullet journal and wrote in a word document. I wrote during my  ‘writing days’ and finished it within four weeks while editing as I went along.

Now that I’m going to work on the second book in the Monday Moody series, I’m using Scrivener again. Scrivener is handy to keep an overview of your novel, and it also helps to not feel overwhelmed because you can write per scene, instead of writing in one big empty document. That can be daunting. Whereas here, one scene is doable, right? You take it scene by scene. I find it very useful to plan a chapter, write in bursts and finish it in one day. That way, I really feel like I’ve finished something each (writing) day.

I really enjoyed using my bullet journal; it worked really well, so I’m considering using that alongside Scrivener. Anyway, I always start by filling in the chapters and go with thirty chapters. Then I fill in the index cards you see when you click on ‘manuscript’. It’s somehow very satisfying to see those thirty empty index cards, waiting for your notes.

I made a plotting attempt a while ago, but then recently I used my bullet journal to plot the novel so now I have to look at the few notes I have in Scrivener and change them if needed. I usually focus on the main plot points of the novel and keep things generic enough to allow my characters the freedom to fill in the details themselves. I trust them.

I also make sure to fill in additional information in Scrivener. I add a map called Plotting and add the files: setting, characters, plot outline, blurb, summary, and notes. In this case, I use notes for things I need to remember from the previous book, for example, or information on the parallel universes Monday will visit and the vampire rules that will reveal a bit more about Oliver’s world and his loyalties.

And then I turn off all distractions and write. I try to finish a chapter or two by the end of each writing day and then copy/paste the chapter in a word document. The next writing day I start by rereading the chapter and after every five chapters, I edit in the word document. I know you can easily edit in Scrivener, but I haven’t tried that yet.


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Morgan W. Silver

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