I recently started working through Story Genius by Lisa Cron to help me write the fourth story in my romantic suspense series, and long before she started talking about organization (Chapter 11), I was—shocking, I know—thinking about how to set things up in Scrivener.
The writing software is perfect for keeping all of the elements together, from “What If?” through to “The End.”
Here’s how I’m using Scrivener to support the Story Genius process. I’ve even included a Lisa Cron-approved Scrivener template in case you want to skip setting it up yourself. ;-)
Choosing a Project Template
When you create a new project in Scrivener, your first decision is which project template (predefined framework) to select. If you’re going to use a document template (like a form you can fill out repeatedly without ruining the original) as a basis for your Story Genius-style scene cards or character bios, I recommend choosing the Novel project template—which already has a Templates folder built in—and then deleting everything you don’t need.
NOTE: You cannot delete the Draft, Research, or Trash folders, though you can rename them and change their icons.
If you don’t care about having a document template for the scene cards or character bios, I’d choose the Blank project template. Then, delete the Chapter folder and Untitled document (select an item to delete and go to Documents—>Move to Trash).
Creating Your Folders
In Story Genius, Lisa recommends that you have six folders to keep track of your story’s facets: Key Characters, The Rules of the World, Idea List, Random Scene Cards, Scene Cards in Development, and Scenes.
I created new folders for the first five (Project—>New Folder), and then renamed the Draft folder to Scenes. I did it that way because, with a few exceptions, Scrivener will only compile (export) items that are located inside the Draft folder. Draft, or whatever you decide to name it, is also where Scrivener looks when calculating your word count in Project Targets.
To give each folder a unique icon, select the folder and go to Documents—>Change Icon.
Additional Folders and Documents
In addition to the six prescribed folders—which I ordered according to my own preference—I also added a Supporting Materials folder to store some of the preliminary exercises, a Productivity document where I track my daily work on the story, and a Templates folder to store Scene Card and Character Bio document templates that I created.
Within the Key Characters folder, I have a folder for each important character, and within that, I store documents for the preliminary character work, like the character sketch and backstory scenes. [Read more…]