I frequently get asked how to use Scrivener for revisions. Obviously, the specifics will vary depending on your approach to edits, but I’ll cover my basic system and give you some ideas which features you might find helpful.
Deciding Where to Revise
I make all of the suggested changes from my editor/beta reader/proofreader directly in Scrivener. A second monitor is helpful for referring to their comments, but I no longer have one, so I either divide my screen with the editorial notes document on one side and my Scrivener project on the other, or I open the notes on my iPad.
But what if you’re working for a traditional publisher who wants you to respond to comments and make your revisions within the Word document for continuity? (This was my process for Scrivener For Dummies.) At this point, you may be done with Scrivener until the next book. I’d make the changes in Word and then import the final version of the manuscript into Scrivener for future reference.
For those times when I have full control of my process, there are three main tools I use to help me with revisions: annotations, snapshots, and labels.
Annotations are a tool I use while writing to leave myself notes for when I’m ready to revise. I mark up areas that need something (e.g., more research, a conversation I’m not ready to write), or where I’m not 100% happy with what I have, but haven’t figured out how to make better (e.g., catchier opening line, better chapter-ending hook, snappier dialogue).
An annotation is inline text that shows up in a colored bubble, like the image below.
When I’m ready to deal with all of my annotations, I can just go to Edit>Find>Find By Formatting and step through them. Or, I handle them as I’m doing a read-through of the manuscript.
Comments work in a similar way. If you prefer to keep your notes in the sidebar, and don’t want them embedded within the text, comments might be a better option for you.
For more info, check out this earlier post that covers annotations and comments in more detail.
Snapshots are a method for keeping older versions of a document. Anytime I’m going to make significant changes to a scene—whether during my initial (horrifying) writing process, or later during revisions—I take a snapshot of the document I’m about to edit.
A snapshot (Documents>Snapshots>Take Snapshot) is a copy of the document as it is right now, that gets saved as part of the document’s meta-data. It’s a great way to keep track of different versions of a scene or section without cluttering up your Binder with files. I rarely go back to an old version, but I like knowing I can find my original words, if necessary.
If you’re worried about forgetting, you can select all of the documents you expect to work on that day and use [Read more…]