more thoughts

I’ve just read your replies to my question. What a store of knowledge you folks have. I hope you’ll let me ask you for more detailed answers based on what I’m trying to accomplish.

I would like to get through a rough draft of this book fairly quickly. There are three reasons for this. First, I’m in a slack period in my work. I’ll be able to devote a lot of time to writing between now and next February. Then, I will be completely tied up and unable to write (17 hour days, lots of energy-sapping conflict, etc) for at least 4 months, perhaps 8 months. Second, the book is somewhat topical and needs to be finished and sent to market. Third, I am going good and I don’t want to lose steam.

As I said in an earlier comment, I have a 50 page outline which I’ve organized and divided up into groups of main concepts in Scrivener. I also have topics for research, each in a separate file, which I’ve been plowing through one at a time and storing in Devonthink.

I’ve found that the research inspires more outlining, which I’ve been adding to the concepts in Scrivener.

The approach I am considering is to go through the research concept by concept and put it in the research files in Scrivener which correspond to the concepts in the outline. Then, I plan to start hooking it altogether in a draft. This assumes that I’ll be going back and forth, doing what works as I do this; it’s nothing more than a general plan.

Now the question: Would it be productive to put the info for cites in the different pieces of research in Bookends as I move them into their respective files in Scrivener?

I wouldn’t want to try to put in endnotes or build an index while I’m writing. I’d block myself for sure doing that. All I want to do when I write is write. Maria has the idea, except I plan (right now, all of this is just thinking and guessing) to just write without even making notations. I can make notations and connect it to the research in the files when I read back through it when it the first draft is finished.

After I get this draft, I thought I’d move it to a word processor to polish and put in the endnotes/index, using the cites that are already in Bookends.

Is this a workable plan? More to the point, does it sound as if it’s something that someone who’s never produced a book-length manuscript could do?

Thanks again for your replies. They are very helpful.


(I am trying to avoid work this morning…)
since you are in a flow and want to write until February, write. Don’t contemplate. 50 pages outline is a lot to rely on. You could write 6 pages a day, 6 days a week, throw away six bad pages per week, so you will have written 300 pages in 10 weeks. It never works like that, but you can be through your book in 3 months, end of September. Then come back with your doubts, put in references, notes, then check, polish. Hic Rhodus hic salta, this is your day!

Your plan sounds good. Start now.


One of the most helpful aspects of Scrivener, when drafting, is the split view. I prefer vertical, displaying draft on one side and notes on the other. In the Binder, you may have a folder called Draft and another Notes. Then arrange and rearrange them as needed, according to topics or narrative sequence. Using this method, I just finished six weeks of intensive drafting that produced 60,000 words. So Maria is correct; you may produce a 300 page MS in a relatively short time. That leaves more time for revising, which is where the really hard work of writing begins. Good luck!

Thank you both–and all the other people who replied earlier. I AM just getting on with this. I’ll decide the question of word processors later.

I think the suggestion of splitting the panes vertically so I can view the outline at the same time I’m working on the draft is going to be very useful.

Again, thank you both.

And Maria…hic salto.