Yes, it’s official. I am one of the new fans of Scrivener. In an earlier post, I have described how I finally signed on for Scrivener hoping to make it, over time, the only tool for my writing going forward. Last week, I had shared with you my first lessons in working with Scrivener. I was caught up with a lot of other work last week and honestly didn’t spend as much time on my writing as I should have. Nevertheless, I thought it might be useful to share a few more tips based on my experience in using Scrivener.
If you have used these features, as I am sure many of you would have, do let me know if there is something I missed out. If you haven’t used these features or are a relative newbie like me, this might set you thinking. So, here are a few things I learnt:
- Labels: I found this to be particularly useful. It is designed to help you track Concepts, Chapters, Characters and the like. These in themselves are very useful in the writing process. I was delighted to find that labels are editable and you could choose, if you prefer to do so, to develop your own besides the standard ones or even in lieu of them.
- Colour Code for Labels: The project I am working on, which is in the genre of alternate history is called, “Obedience Unto Death.” It runs from 1939, all the way up to 1961. It was becoming tough for me to keep track of different time periods in the story. I realized that I could colour code my writing based on the time period in the story. So off I went and assigned Colour 1 for 1939-40, Colour 2 to 1940-42…and so on. This helped me to visually kill two birds with one stone. I could see at a glance whether any particular period was too thin, and need to be beefed up. Conversely, were there some periods which had more material than was necessary to further the plot. I found this immensely helpful.
- Characters: This separate folder for characters helped me keep track of the major characters. I developed a card for each of them and here I wrote about their physical characteristics, their family background, the names they used and so on. This becomes an easy to find point of reference.
- Places: Likewise, I am exploring the different places where the story is set. There are scene that take place in Berlin towards the end of the War, in Moscow and in Washington DC. Keeping tabs of these places and painting in the little details that make each of these scenes unique was made possible by using the folder for Places. I also plan to keep data I research on these places in this particular folder. It makes it easy for me to cross check facts, like the distance between Place A and Place B for example. Once I have it here, I don’t have to research for such data on the internet again.
- To Be Used: This folder was very useful to toss in material that I found good but not quite appropriate at one particular spot. By placing this chunk in the “To Be Used” Folder, I know it is safe and won’t get lost even if I have written thousands of words. I can refer to this folder and transfer material from here to appropriate places in the story, as required. Should they not be needed, they can be tossed into the “Trash” folder.
- Status: another feature under General Meta-Data, helped me mark chapters as being, “First Draft”, ” Revised Draft” ” To Do” and so on. This too is editable, by the way and you can choose to develop your own symbols. This helps, I guess, track where and at which stage the different parts of your story are at any point in time.
This has been an exciting learning process. A lot more needs to be done, but this is what I have achieved so far.