I blogged yesterday about my WIP, and the fact that I am rewriting my mystery. This rewriting was the result of two different writing seminars this past winter/spring, and the sense that what I needed to fix would be better remedied by a rewrite than an edit, since the “fixes” were piling up. And I felt that a rewrite would make it a stronger book. Since rewriting is where I was going anyway, I decided to take two more steps.
First, I rethought the plot. I condensed the timeline. I took out a character completely. I threaded two other characters through the narrative. I added a couple of more clues. And I clarified some of my settings. I printed out the original, and put stickies throughout with notes about what I wanted to do.
Now, the idea of taking my 72,000 word manuscript and making all of those changes made my head hurt. While writing it, I used notecards to keep track of scenes. To rewrite it, I decided to take Scrivener for a test drive. Scrivener is a writer’s tool. It has been available on Mac for a while, and the PC version came out last year. Once I decided to pull my manuscript apart, it made sense to try it out. I am still figuring the software out, but I think I may be in love.
Why? Let me count the ways.
First, there are templates for setting and character work. And the names stay in the left hand column. You can even group them. SO, no more forgetting someone’s name. And, when you add something you want to remember (a limp, hair color, broken nose) you can add it to the profile. You can even add reference material.
Second, my note card system works here as well. You create cards for each scene. On the card you can take notes on the goals of the scene, things that need to be added, characters involved, whatever. And those notes stay visible on the right hand side of the screen. You can have references for scenes as well.
Third, since every scene is a card, you can look at them one at a time, or as a whole board. I am still figuring out scenes and chapters and how they work in Scrivener. But here’s what I love–when you need to move a scene, you click and drag it. And everything associated with it moves as well.
Fourth, and this may seem minor, there is a typewriter function. So when you type, what you are typing stays in the middle of the screen. I love it.
Fifth, it takes your work and formats it correctly.
My top five, so far. I am still learning. And I need to figure out better ways of doing some things. I signed up for a Scrivener class in September, so I will learn more. But so far, I really like it.
Do any of you use Scrivener? Any tips? Suggestions?