Just posted this over at Omnigroup’s forums too. I felt like sharing my writing workflow with you folks. My flow changes about monthly, just like my music listening and coffee drinking habits. OmniOutliner was just added to the mix but I’m liking it so far. I really want to hear any improvements you may have to this flow, so I can change it again in about a month
I’m a blogger/movie critic (candlerblog.com), so most of my writing is short form and has to be done quickly. After a screening I’ll scribble notes either into a notebook or in WriteRoom on the iPhone. If it’s WR, it goes right into Scrivener when I get home.
Then I fire up OmniOutliner. Sometimes I copy and paste over into OO from my notes, but I find it more gratifying to retype big ideas. OO is where I do all the brainstorming and work myself out of problems. I’ll have Parent bullets with things like Characters, Visuals, Plot. Then in each I mention the big things that stuck out, adding a new bullet each time I need to dig deep. I don’t really need Child bullets for this all that much, I’ll lose them. Anyway, I keep going over that until I feel I’ve hit on what I liked and didn’t like and how to justify either. I export a plain text file of this and then bring that into Scrivener.
I’ve tried going the OPML to Scrivener route, but it doesn’t work for this kind of notetaking. Scrivener’s outline mode is a bit inelegant for brainstorming, which is where OO comes in so handy. However, I finally found a use for Scrivener’s outline and corkboard mode. I create a new outline with the basic structure of the piece I’m going to write. Intro, Plot Summary, Performances, Visuals, Conclusion, for example. The I just go into each document with those names and write based on my OO notes. I find keeping OO open next to Scrivener a bit nicer than splitting a document to view notes, but either way works. The key is limiting myself to only what’s in the document title/header. Write as much as I want about visuals in that header. Then I press Edit Scrivenings and view the whole piece, tweak accordingly.
I flip this around every once in a while. I’ll head into Scrivener and just start writing a whole piece, but to polish it I divvy up each paragraph to its own notecard in a new folder. The I give a title to each notecard based on the contents of the paragraph. This is especially illuminating when I see I have 4 paragraphs dedicated to Plot Summary. That’s when I hit Edit Scrivenings and go to town cutting everything down and moving it around. The ability to isolate paragraphs and then bring them back together is huge for me. I have a short attention span, so sometimes I want to fix something two paragraphs down and forget about what I started doing.
Anyone use a similar workflow? I’d love to hear suggestions.