I write a lot of technical letters and decided the other day that I should try to improve how I write those letters. To do that I thought I’d write myself a fiction short book. Why? The answer, Why not. I need to start with something. I found Scrivener and really like it . I’ve read the tutorial and articles about organizing, But what I don’t know is how in the world does a person organize the sections of a given chapter. I was wondering if anyone would happen to have a project (screenshot or compressed folder) that they would be willing to share the contents of the binder. I realize I could organize things all kinds of ways, but I’m trying to understand how people write the sections of a chapter and organize it. My hope is to learn from what others have already learned.
There are as many organizational approaches as there are books. (Many writers find that each book requires a unique approach, so there are more approaches than there are writers.)
However, writers generally fall on a spectrum between “planners,” who prefer to outline before writing, and “pantsers,” who prefer to dive in and write “by the seat of their pants.” Whichever approach feels more natural to you is probably a good place to start.
My current project is non-fiction, rather than fiction, but here’s how I approached it:
Collect lots of notes.
Place highlights from the information gathering stage in a Scapple document. Shuffle them around until broad categories emerge.
For each category, create a sub-document in Scrivener. Drag the relevant Scapple items to Document Notes. Pull the key points out into a Synopsis.
Use the result as an outline from which to write the draft. (This is where I currently am.)
I usually just start to write in a single text document in the binder. As your story grows, so does the need to organise your material. I find, each project forces the way it wants to be organised in upon the writer, so to speak. Short chapters? Long chapters? Different points of view? Mountains of research that need to be organised? At some point, you’ll pause writing, organise a bit, then write some more. Laying out a structure for a book before you start to write can be (for me at the least) a huge procrastination thing. For others, it’s the starting point they need.
You’ll have to find out what works best for you by doing it. Scrivener is brilliant in this respect, it fits for the messiest writer up to the Mari Kondos of literature.
Thanks Jim and everyone else that responded. I’m an ultra-visual person, which sucks when it comes to reading. I can watch a movie and remember everything. I can read a chapter and unless visually explicit, won’t remember what it was even about. I find myself as a panster - plotter and what you wrote made sense to me. I seem to like to start writing something so that I can plot out what I want to do. At least that’s how my first fiction short book is starting at.
Given that you’re a visual thinker, you might also consider incorporating storyboarding or collaging tools. Both Scapple and Scrivener allow you to import images, but of course there’s a whole other world of tools for making and organizing images.