What Scrivener steps do you take in writing your novel?

Hello

I am fairly new to Scrivener and am thrilled with the program. I’d love to accelerate my learning curve so I can minimize backtracking, as Scrivener comes to reveal more of its secrets.

My mind is like quicksilver when I am writing- so many ideas, thoughts, ways of organizing, interesting bits and more arrive somewhat simultaneously. In my imagination, I will learn to use Scrivener like a musical instrument, artfully creating keywords, cards, links, folders and files to contain the first draft of a novel. I like the image of Scrivener musical improvisation novel writing.

I know, ultimately, we each have to find our own way in Scrivener. I’d love to learn the steps some of you take to capture, organize and ultimately refine the first draft of your novels as well as the second and third.

Thank you
Aisling

symbolicbridging.com/
aislingnano.wordpress.com/

I would like to advise strongly against looking at others as a beginning. I consider the best strategy just to start playing around with whatever tool, focusing at a particular project, and to do whatever comes to mind (and trying to solve the problems that arise, like in “how do I…?”). It will not be perfect in the end, but so what? You will have made your experiences, and that will be the solid ground from where to look around how others do it and pick up one idea or another to try it yourself.

The musical-instrument-metaphor is somewhat misleading: While musical instruments should in fact to be handled “right” from the beginning, every writer works different from others - and should do so.

I think in general Andreas is correct. There is no “one size that fits all”, even amongst one’s own projects.

Nonetheless, there are questions that you can ask yourself before you start. For example:

  • Structure - how free-form/innovative, how classic (possibly guru-influenced)?
  • Research-heavy, or research-light? Research before, or as you go along, or a combination of both?
  • Outlining or not? Or pushing your outlining just ahead of the drafting, like a bow-wave? If full outlining, how complex, and how created - e.g. with the snowflake method: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php
  • Characters and settings - constructed carefully before drafting, or emerging as you go?
  • Drafting - start-to-end, or bits and pieces that are later fitted together?
  • Re-writing - how much? Do you just slam down the first draft full of errors, or craft it meticulously (and therefore slowly and perhaps ponderously)?

And so on. The answers to these questions may depend not only on your own inclinations, but also your story and genre, and, naturally, the readership you’re targeting.

H

What everyone has said is true. One thing about Scrivener that is different from many applications is that it does not have a “route” in which it guides you to work. I don’t just mean that in the sense of writing technique, but as an application in general. It provides a generous toolbox, with which you can craft your own personal route however simple or convoluted that may be. Some features you’ll never touch, maybe not even to play with. Other things you’ll find yourself relying heavily upon; things I myself might never use. So with all of that in mind, I’d say the best course of action would be take things slow at first. Scrivener is very big; lots of features and lots of options. So start out treating it like you would a notepad application, or even a word processor. Then gradually introduce yourself to features and evolve your process as you work. Go through the tutorial, that will familiarise you with most of the main concepts. Scrivener does some things different than any other app, so understanding the material in the guide will help you figure out things.

Since you work like quicksilver, one piece of advice I would give is to let Scrivener work with your ability to think in small chunks. Most writing apps push you in the direction of keeping large amounts of text within sections (and in the case of word processors—your entire book!). Scrivener encourages and facilitates the notion of keeping things broken up into small pieces (some break up things by the scene, some break up things even further). Feel free to toss random ideas into a temporary outline with a sentence here and sentence there. It’s easy to go back later and merge them permanently, or even temporarily using the Edit Scrivenings feature. Really do try to think of it as index cards that allow you to clip pages to the cards. Keeping things in small chunks will make your searches and meta-data more relevant, and your structural editing decisions more fluid and immediate.

Thank you -

I will try to take things slowly at first. Your reminder of playing with small snippets of writing feels wise. I’m trying to discern a way to, for example, create a different folder for fire, water, air and earth. Then I want to select different parts of the novel, as I write it, and place different sections in each of these folders. Later I want to return and fathom where everything connects.

The snowflake method looks intriguing but is beyond me right now. I wish to create my novels within Scrivener-and to let my process be fairly wild. I am rather too used to creating a fecund chaos and was hoping to discern a “perhaps magical” way to contain the chaos within Scrivener. Hopefully, a step at a time, I will be able to discover various ways to choreograph a unique writing flow for individual projects.

The above description still does not describe what I’m trying to feel/find my way towards.

Someone described their writing as individual volcanic islands surfacing from the depths of an ocean. At first all you can see are the different land forms. Over time you can discern where these land forms connect and begin to sense the shape of the connections. I sense Scrivener can help with this but I’m still trying to figure out how.

I appreciate your responses…

Aisling

Would that be Aisling…as in, ‘a dream’, or dreamer? :slight_smile:
take care
Vic

Perchance both dreamer and dream… :wink:

Slainte

Aisling

Museing on the liminal spaciousness of Scrivner’s StarGates, Portals and a Prelude to what Alchemy conjures volcanic islands to auspiciously merge.

Please, please, please don’t get him started. once vic-k gets an idea lodged in his head it gets ugly. You may have just made a big mistake giving him a line like that to work with.

Back dog! Back!

In truth Sweetness, Scrivener is a portal. Tis the arse end of a wormhole, t`other end of which exits in a parallel dimension.

On a temporal plane, twixt man and woman, fair Aisling, the Alchemy of which you speak, is but lust, desire and/or love.

On a spiritual plane, tis ritualisation bordering on the Divine: Picture, if you will, a mans gnarled hand, scarred by remorseless and unforgiving circumstance. In it, he cradles a crystal cut glass tumbler, with which he catches (as it falls from above), the golden, Holy Distillation. Having done so, he raises the tumbler to his lips. Lips of a face equally scarred by pitiless circumstance. As the Essences vapour fills his nostrils, inflaming his legendary, insatiable lust, he breaths the Oath over the tumbler; the words which define him as a man: Sine Metu.

Dream on, fair Aisling, dream on
Sláinte
vic

[size=50]The memory of the last time my volcanic island collided with anything, is shrouded in the swirling mists of the proverbial. [/size]

You could do exactly that - make folders and drop your scrivenings in them, then drag them out again to re-order them later.

You could also use folders for your story structure and use, for example, labels for your fire, water, air, and earth categories. Labels come with colours, and you can have the icons in the binder list show those colours; also in the corkboard if you tell it to show the pins they are coloured according to your labels. Then you could use the folders to organize the narrative order and the story pieces will keep their coloured labels no matter where you move them.

I think labels are great for this because of the colour; you can see at a glance which colour predominates, or what the colour distribution is.

You could also do a project search for one of the labels, then select all of the results and click “edit scrivenings” - then (for example) all of your “fire” snippets will be temporarily combined into a single document and you can check it for whatever you want to check it for.

You could also use folders for your story structure and use, for example, labels for your fire, water, air, and earth categories. Labels come with colours, and you can have the icons in the binder list show those colours; also in the corkboard if you tell it to show the pins they are coloured according to your labels. Then you could use the folders to organize the narrative order and the story pieces will keep their coloured labels no matter where you move them.

Thank you. what you suggested above sounds great. How do you create labels? I selected label and wasn’t quite sure what to do next. I’m also not certain what an icon is and how to have it list colors.

I think labels are great for this because of the colour; you can see at a glance which colour predominates, or what the colour distribution is. This seems very helpful once I can envision how to use it. :confused:

You could also do a project search for one of the labels, then select all of the results and click “edit scrivenings” - then (for example) all of your “fire” snippets will be temporarily combined into a single document and you can check it for whatever you want to check it for. Once I can figure out how to do this I am going to be thrilled. Thanks so much.

Is there a step one two three etc. for how you initiate working with the labels and colors?

Aisling

At this point I would strongly recommend going through the tutorial, if you haven’t already, and the help file. The help file, more like a user manual, is well written and searchable. You will be able to find all the information about how to setup labels there.

Matt

I agree with Matt, and would take it one step further - when you’re new to Scrivener, I’d recommend going through the tutorial (found in the help menu) several times - when you start, a month or two later when you’re getting used to Scrivener, and a third time a month or two after that. As you get more familiar with the program, the tutorial will make much more sense and you will figure out how to use features with your personal workflow that you didn’t understand the first time through the tutorial.

I’m probably due for a tutorial review myself, and I’ve been using Scriv for a few years now :slight_smile:

Gotcha

I have gone through the tutorial three times and will again.
I started going through the help menu last night and will continue today.
I seem to need to hear the directions three different ways.

ah well

Tis the longest darkest night and I am inspired to really rock with Scrivener. Rock was an unusual choice of word for what I desire. perhaps I meant to be grounded within Scrivener,or more likely to be able to dance when listening to pulsating rock and roll as my novel’s pulse with Scrivening possibilities to gift them with improvisations and colorful ways to unfold.

Thank you
Slainte
Aisling

http://www.symbolicbridging.com/
aislingnano.wordpress.com/

On a temporal plane, twixt man and woman, fair Aisling, the Alchemy of which you speak, is but lust, desire and/or love.

On a spiritual plane, tis ritualisation bordering on the Divine:

Your intriguing post suggests that Alchemy and eros are kindled from the same scintillating flames. Tis true. Yet although Fire initiates many Alchemical processes there are infinite Alchemical Recipes. For the Alchemy to unfold exquisitely an Alchemical Container must be present and presence. This Chalice needs to sustain the tension of the opposites without breaking any links as it holds, not witholds, the great work of the Mysterium Magnum. I am viewing Scrivener as an Alchemical Container- strong enough to hold immense amounts of Fire, Water, Air, Earth and quintessentially to conjure poetry within its secret Colors, Labels, Pushpins, notecards and the myriad links and lexicons that are palpable if not entirely discernable, yet, on this Winter Solstice eve of liminal lessons and laughter/learning…all ways with eros - the substance of source.

Aisling

Me too :frowning:

Of course … Lewis Carroll had that right in The Hunting of the Snark
“The proof is complete,//If only I’ve stated it thrice.”
Not that Scrivener’s tutorial and help files bear any relation to the voice of the Jubjub bird!
:wink:
Mark

speak for yself :frowning: But! When you wrap it up as beautifully as Aisling does, it wouldnt matter if it sounded like a Humvee backfiring.

Merci. Reading your e-male posts conjure a smile.

Museing on the myriad meta meanings of links that are toggled when not tangled or entangled while
sensing an ambuscade that honors nuance thrice distilled with just enough peat.

Happy Whatever!

Best Aisling


symbolicbridging.com/
aislingnano.wordpress.com/

No ambuscade, Fair Vision,`twas but a freindly, fáilte a chur roimh dhuine. :smiley:
Take care.
Beannaachtaí na Féile ort
Vic