I’ve finally seen the light and, prompted by a recent special offer, bought a copy of Scrivener. One of today’s tasks is to get to grips with it, a job which goes hand-in-hand with the other task of rounding up some persistent plot-bunnies in the latest novel.
I should have (shoulda, coulda, woulda – the mantra of my life) installed Scrivener earlier, as it would have been useful when I was writing Queen of Nowhere, a book which has one main viewpoint character but half a dozen other viewpoint stories sprinkled through the novel as ‘meanwhile, elsewhere… ‘ vignettes. (A book which is also, ahem, eligible for the Loncon Hugos, if you haven’t used all your votes yet … dammit, get back in the box, shameless self-promotion Jaine … ‘don’t put me back in the box’ … ‘get back in… ‘ etc. Nothing to see here.)
For the current novel which, tantalisingly/irritating, I’m not releasing the name of yet, I’ve only got three viewpoints but they all start in different places, and the plot is mushrooming. Hopefully the combination of Scrivener to hang my uncertainties on and a scheduled Plot Pizza with Beloved tonight should see me back on track.
I do have another reason for buying Scrivener, which is its ability to create e-books. Watch this space for news on that project. Meanwhile, I’d be interested to hear other people’s experiences of Scrivener, in whatever capacity you use it.
I love Scrivener with a deep love. Karen Traviss recommended it at the beginning of last year and I thought I’d give it a try – after all there was a thirty day free trial and – hell – it’s cheap enough to take a chance on.
So I pasted my trial novel into it and proceeded to split it down into scenes. This was Empire of Dust, before its sale to DAW.
Examining the text on a scene by scene basis – and being able to see all the scenes laid out in the binder – was a revelation. It’s a multiple viewpoint novel – each VP in tight third person. When I allocated colours to VP characters I could instantly see where I’d clumped too much from one individual too close together, or had too long a gap between a particular VP character’s scenes.
Editing to move scenes around in the narrative is easy – just drag and drop in the binder. And you don’t break things if you get it wrong because it’s easy to reverse any decision.
The other great feature is that you can just view all of one person’s VP scenes as a continuous narrative, so you can see whther the story is logical from one character’s point of view. I have one secondary character whose VP is important but limited and I realised that I’d not given him a very good character arc because some of the things that drove his segment of the plot were happening off the page. Adding in very short scenes that were pivotal for him gave him a complete arc and added less than 1000 words to the total word count.
Similarly I had chosen to limit the viewpoint scenes from my three antagonists. (Sigh… yes a story with three villains… I know… but I think it works and only one of them is pure eeeevil) When I viewed their individual arcs as a continuous narrative I could see there were gaps that shouldn’t be there. I was trying to be mysterious, but I’d actually reduced the tension because my readers didn’t know there was a great plot bunny emerging from its bunny-hole unbeknownst to my main protagonists.
And now I’ve written so much about Scrivener I’m going to have to go and blog it myself. Please come and chip in at http://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/scrivening/
Thanks, Jacey. This is the kind of stuff I need to know – i.e. what works. I suspect the ability to show the story from one person’s PoV is going to be very useful.
Scrivener has changed my way of working – for the better – especially at the editing stage, but also in writing the first draft of Crossways (the sequel to Empire of Dust) I’m constantly referring back to the Scrivener Empire file for characters and plot points.
Told you so. :-p
Glad you’ve found the time to commit for what I know was a big deal to you.
So well done.
Cheers, Ashley. Just heading off to do the tutorial now, if I can pull myself away from Radio 4.