Whether you’re plotting in advance or completely winging it, Scrivener can help you win National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
Here are some of my favorite features to help you hit 50K in November, or whatever your writing goal is, any month of the year.
Handling Ideas, or the Lack Thereof
When you’re writing for speed, you can’t afford to be slowed down by ideas for future scenes, or get stuck trying to conjure the perfect piece of dialog. Nor do you have time for additional research.
Instead, make a note and get back to writing. Scrivener offers several options for leaving notes.
Annotations and Comments: These are notes you can leave at a particular point in your text, which makes them great for reminders about fixing a bad description, looking up precise medical details for an injury, or anything else that’s spot-specific.
Document Notes: Think of these like a sticky note you can slap on the scene. They’re best for general thoughts about the overall scene (e.g., research needed, ideas for changes in a character’s scene goal, ideas for where to take the scene if you’re plotting it right before writing).
Documents: For manuscript-level notes and ideas, you might instead create a document to jot down things as they occur to you. I also like the idea of having a Change Log document for notes on scenes I’ve already written, so I’m not tempted to fix them when I should be writing new material.
Another use for documents is to create one when you have an idea for a future scene, and use it as a placeholder. You can enter a brief description of what you think will happen in the Synopsis card, or maybe quickly write out the conversation or piece of action that came to you before you forget. When you get to that point in the manuscript, the scene will already be waiting.
Synopsis: For those who plot—either the whole book in advance, or each scene immediately before you write it—the Synopsis (see image in Document Notes section) is a great place to keep a reminder of what’s supposed to happen, in case you forget. If you don’t plot at all, you can add a short description of what happened after you write the scene, to help you keep track as your story builds.
The Corkboard lets you view the synopsis cards storyboard-style. If this is your thing, I recommend not grouping your documents into folders until you’re done using the Corkboard to view, plot, and reorder your story.
Blocking Out Distractions
Scrivener’s Composition Mode (called Full Screen Mode in Windows) is the next-best thing to noise-canceling headphones. It hides everything but the document you’re working on, and even allows you to customize the background color or image. I like to [Read more…]