Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Scrivener~What I Think Part II

The act of writing is a process. So is developing our ideas and placing those ideas in a format that helps us organize our storytelling. I began exploring the world of Scrivener in PART I of my series, highlighting my first impressions with the program like the ability to collect all my Research in one place and the Outline view Scrivener offers as I write, review, edit, and rewrite.

Today, I'm concentrating on the folder aspect of Scrivener. For a reminder and explanation of what Binders, Folders, and Note Cards are, see PART I. To begin in Scrivener:
  1. Start a new Project by opening a Binder
  2. Then add a Folder of whatever info you'd like to keep close together like Scenes or Characters. I create a new folder for each Chapter and then I can add Note Cards (individual documents) to it such as scenes or different POV character segments. Again, for a more indepth explanation of what Binders, Folders, and Note Cards are, see PART I. 
Before I continue with the Folder explanation, let me show you the three different ways you can view a folder within your Binder/Project.


These three buttons appear at the top of your Scrivener screen. In each image you can see one is highlighted in yellow. That shows you which View you are working in. (And yes, there is value to working in all three views. I asked the same question before I started using the program.)

The folder I'll share with you today is a Character Folder I created, which is found inside my Binder for project XXX. (It's actually my Binder for the sequel to Marked Beauty, but for this post I'll call it XXX.)
Character Cards with images & character basics
This is what the character folder looks like in Corkboard. Look at the top of this image. See the illuminated yellow square with a brown box? That's how I access the Corkboard--one of the three views I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Scrivener's corkboard simplifies my information for me, just like the physical corkboards I'm accustomed of using in my office. Only difference is that ALL the information I've collected in directly in front of me. I don't have to move, scatter scraps of paper, index cards, or sticky notes on the floor. And each of these cards can be easily moved to a different location on the corkboard by clicking on the card and dragging it to wherever I want it. THIS is extremely helpful when writing separate scenes using the note cards, but I'll concentrate on that next time.

As you can see, each note card has an image on it representing what I image the character to look like. If I click on the left sidebar where there is an open blue folder titled Characters, all the characters on these cards appear individually below the blue folder as sub-folders. (For the sake of not having to take another picture, I already opened the blue folder entitled Characters.)

Now, in the left sidebar under the opened Character Folder, I can click on any character's name to open their note card. Beneath each card, I've created that character's basics or personal what-makes-the-character-who-they-are facts. 


If you could scroll on the right scroll bar, you'd see more info in my character interview with Ana, such as Internal Conflicts & External Conflicts.

This setup is invaluable. All my characters are in one place instead of notebooks or scrapes of paper strewed all over the place. All my characters' characteristics are attached to each. And any connection(s) I want to make between any of these characters are there, too. Right at my fingertips.

Another example of my use of folders is my Plot Sketch folder and Outline folder, both of which are within my Binder for project XXX. The Plot Sketch folder is a series of major plot points I set up, using Karen S. Wiesner's book First Draft in 30 Days. Creating a separate folder links it to the entire story as it continues to develop and unfold. (I can change whatever I want as the story develops, using this as my 'Home Base' of Plot Points.)


Breaking this method down even further, I created an Outline folder with Note Cards (sub documents), labeling them Beginning-Act I, Middle-Act II, & Ending-Act III--contains Climax, Resolution, & Extended Resolution or Epilogue.

Clicking on my Outline folder, this is what I see in corkboard view:


Clicking on my first Note Card (Beginning-Act I) in my Outline folder, will show me the guts of information I've entered on that card alone. This is the text I see when I switch from Corkboard to document view:


The specifics I've created for Act I of the story are separate from other clutter, making it easy for me to focus and build on the outline/synopsis for Act I. Plus, as I write, I can return here, adding more details to summarize what's happening in Act I. Taking this a step further, when I add specifics to each Note Card that appears on the Outline folder corkboard (Remember, there are three note cards in the outline folder: Act I, Act II, & Act III), in text view I can now see all three note cards' specifics all together - only separated by a dotted line. Hmmm...can you see a story synopsis forming? Yes you can.


Every detail I separately jotted down on each of the three note cards in my Outline folder has now been automatically linked together in a single formed document. If you could scroll the right scroll bar down in this picture, you'd see another dotted line and then my summary/outline for Act III. And remember, this Outline folder is directly linked to my Plot Sketch folder, keeping me inline as I write.

This goes along with one of my parenting methods: Given in a lump sum, a task looks like a mountain; broken down into smaller nuggets makes any task seem doable and completion attainable. 

As I continue to use this program I will share any new insight I gain from it with you!! I have at least one more post about Scrivener for you. After reading my two segments, what do you think? A fan of Scrivener or not a fan or a maybe?

UPDATE 05/29/13: I found another wonderful post about another author's experience using Scrivener. It might help you, too. 


SPLAT ALERT!! There is less than a week until the amazing A to Z Challenge begins, and I have a bit of information to share with you. You already know that I'm a minion. But I'd like to share with you my fabulous teammates: Jay NoelSchwa MichaelsDeniz BevanMelanie Schulz, and, of course, Matt MacNish!!

I'd also like to share with you my theme for the challenge. I've decided to go with "What I've learned on Pinterest!" That place is a cornucopia of info, and I'd like to share all sorts of quirky, bright, creative, and even spooky finds with you. Go #atozchallenge!!

47 comments:

  1. Thanks for the update on Scrivener. I've been scared to try it, because I've critiqued two books that were a mess after inputting from Scrivener. Maybe it was operator error. You'll have to know how it works in the end.
    I'm gearing up for A to Z now. I've fallen a little behind with my kiddo having minor surgery on Monday, but I'll get it done. :)

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    1. It could be that, operator error. I've heard of folks having issues with formatting after exporting from Scrivener, but you have to check certain boxes off before exporting. It's easy; you just have to pay attention. I'm thinking that's what it is. I did a test run with a short magazine article I had to send in. I wanted to make sure that didn't happen to a longer manuscript. It exported just fine. I'm thinking as long as I do the same thing I did with the short article, I can export my manuscript with no issues.

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    2. that's one of the reasons I stopped using scrivener. Guess I wasn't doing it right.

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  2. I'm like Ciara. I've been scared to try it. But I'm going to bookmark your posts on this and may use it to at least organize my projects. Thanks for sharing this.

    Looking forward to your A-Z posts.

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  3. I'm ready to give this a try with my next new project. Have you ever used it for a series?

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    1. Funny you should ask that. I'm working on a sequel, right now. It's definitely making it easier, having most of my characters and research there on note cards. I can transfer or simply refer to those. Plus, I can add more characters and edit the ones I've already established as they evolve in book II. Same for my research. I'm sure this program would work the same way with a series.

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  4. I'm just getting through the tutorial of it. I'm using the trial version now, but I think I need to dive in and start a new project on it. I'm in the middle of revisions so I haven't been able to play. Thanks for the info. The program for me is overwhelming. At least, right now.

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    1. That's just how I was at first. Plus, I was in the middle of a project, too. Starting from scratch on a new project is what really helped me.

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  5. I do a lot of this stuff, except I don't like having photos of characters. I handle character sheets, and plot outline using Excel, but I've always wanted to try Scrivener. I'll have to check it out!

    And thanks so much for helping me with the challenge, Sheri! I'm looking forward to your Pinterest posts.

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  6. Thanks for the info, and the screenshots were very helpful. I love your parental/writerly idea of breaking large tasks into smaller do-able ones. Great idea! :-)

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  7. I'm a huge fan of Scrivener (been using it for about a year or so I'd say), but I've only cracked the surface of what it can do. I love the tip about using the cork board for character photos. I'm going to try that! :-)

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  8. Scrivener is so great for planning. I love being about to have character images so accessible.

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  9. This is great info. I've been on the fence about getting Scrivener, but I think it's time to take the plunge.

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  10. What great info! I'm still old school, and use index cards, but I can definitely see the value of using a program like this.

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  11. I enjoy scrivener and you are helping me take it to a whole 'nother level. Thank you.

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  12. I'm a pantster, but I'm loving Scrivener too. The cork board is so great for giving an overview of every section. Wish I was able to outline like you do!

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    1. Oh geez! This is the FIRST time I've ever outlined like this. I totally credit this program. It gave me just enough structure to do so. And I think there's more structure for me to use when/if I need it. I'm sure I'll eventually run into it. LOL

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  13. I like the look of the cork board feature - looks like it was be both useful and visually interesting.

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  14. I'm a new fan of Scrivener. I wrote my first novel with it after using the discount from NaNo late last year. It changed the way I write.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that, Jay. I believe it's changing the way I write, too. I find myself, not only more organized, but less stressed and freer to just write.

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  15. I've used Liquid Story Binder which I find is easier for me than Scrivener. Your posts are intriguing though. I may be converted!

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    1. I think it takes some trial and error. When I first downloaded the trial program, I took a gander around and couldn't make heads or tales of it. So it sat, hidden in my laptop for about three months. Then, during a lull of writing, I decided to hash it out with this program. I still have a lot to learn about it, but at least now I can use it to my advantage. :)

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  16. I was reluctant to try Scrivener at first. I didn't see the point, since Word worked so well for me. Then I won NaNo2012 and got a discount, right after I attended an author event with Laini Taylor. She talked about how much she loved the program and she's an amazing author so I trusted her opinion and bought it. I loooooove it. I love the character section and the research section. Its become so helpful for the contemporary YA I'm writing that requires a lot of research. One of the characters is named Anastasia and goes by Ana -- weird coincidence! Great post and thanks for giving all this info.

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  17. I'm stopping in from Matt's place - congrats on assisting with the upcoming A-Z Challenge; you will have fun!

    I really enjoyed this post and will make my way back to Part 1. I have been toying with getting this program but always felt it was "just too much" for my needs.
    In light of your statement about how things look when broken down into "smaller nuggets" I will be revising my thoughts and giving it a closer look.

    I look forward to popping by and reading about Pinterest...something I am unfamiliar with. (must get out of the cave a little more) :)

    Jenny @ PEARSON REPORT

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  18. Thanks for this. I've heard a lot about the program, but never checked into it.

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  19. Hi, Stopping by from Matt McNish's site and the A to Z challenge. Right now, I'm in your grouping and wanted to say hi! Love your theme, though I've been sucked into that thing you call Pintrest and lost days! :)

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    http://writebackwards.we3dements.com

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  20. Melanie - Hope you find something useful in it!

    Pearson R. - *HI, from Matt's place!* It's great to meet you! Thanks for stopping by. My hope is these posts help others decide whether the program is right for them. I was very leery at first. But after I gave in to my fear of the program being too much, I found it only took about a week to figure out the main parts and make them useful to me. I'm sure I'll discover even more as I go.

    Haha...Pinterest. Honestly, I still have no idea how I'm going to structure the posts. I've set aside a board on Pinterest solely for A to Z, so we'll see what hits me the strongest.

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  21. I am *this close* to tearing my hair out with Scrivener. All I want to do is cut-n-paste 50 pages to email. Can't figure out how. Is this too much to ask? Love how it compiles to print, but yeesh the rest is stumping me formatting-wise.

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  22. I think my process is too simple for scrivner. I just come up w/ seven plot points and start writing. I typically do my brainstorming with a pen and paper, and I research as I go. Like when I'm in a scene I need to verify something for, I do.

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    1. I still do some brainstorming with pen and paper, but, now that I'm using this program I find I need to brainstorm less elsewhere because I get so much of it done with the program.

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  23. Wow that is so purty. Maybe someday I'll switch, but right now I'm still old skool with spiral notebooks. Maybe I'll learn something with your A-Z theme cuz I'm still scared of taking on more social media.
    Let me know when you get to FLA. :D

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    1. Haha...I'm using the Pinterest theme, but still have no idea what the heck I'm going to do. LOL

      We should be in Florida by the 13th, I believe, and we're staying near Orlando at some resort. I'd LOVE to see you. That would be cool.

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  24. The Pinterest post series is a good idea for the April A-Z.

    Ready to go with EIGHT blogs in the April A-Z Challenge! Mine are 475 - 483 on the A-Z list. I'm doing a few interesting series ... as each of these blogs has its own focus (horses, humor, poetry, home, writing tips, devotionals, and more.)

    Two of these blogs (Simply Snickers and The Meme Express) will offer DAILY writing/blogging prompts and A-Z words throughout the month of April. The Meme Express welcomes A-Zers to leave daily comments, linking back to their alphabetic posts.

    Thanks for helping with the hosting of the A to Z Challenge! Here we go-o-o-o!

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  25. The corkboard view is the single reason why I decided to try Scrivener. Its my favorite part. :) I love how you organized your characters with images. I might have to try this. Of course, I see hours of internet fun looking at images in my future.

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    1. I'll be honest. It took a while to find character images I felt fit each of them. For me, the process was more about getting to know my characters more personally. I find it so much easier to write that way.

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  26. Great article! Scrivener has changed the way i write. I'm writing my fourth book with it and never have a problem. So glad more people are finding out about them!
    !

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  27. I've been really reluctant to try this because I had no idea how it worked. This helps more than I can tell you. Thank you!

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  28. I know nothing about it. Do everything the old fashioned way. I may try it one day, though. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  29. This sounds better than the separate files I create for each manuscript.

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  30. I use Scrivener, too, but I'm nowhere NEAR that organized whilst using it... *sigh*

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Just keep at it. It took me a little while, but once I started outlining and setting up all those note cards I just couldn't stop!! LOL

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  31. Been using it for a few years for both fiction and NF and it's excellent. Great for research, organizing, and writing.

    DP Lyle

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    1. Thank for sharing your experience with the program, DP.

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  32. I'm using Scrivener for my 6 book series and it is truly amazing for a series. Being able to have each book in its own binder and being able to drag and drop all my character and location sheets and go back and forth from book to book really helps. Plus, Scrivener is very intuitive and it is how my writer brain works and the Binder does it I tried it and bought it the same day. Now, they have made Scapple which is note taking and it is a great addition to the Scrivener family. So, I suggest getting both if you are a visual person like I am when writing. Thanks for your in-depth articles on Scrivener. I love it and I am so glad people are trying it or giving it a second try because of your article. -Amber

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  33. Just finished my masters thesis (a 50 page document), and had to write it in quite a short time. Would NEVER had made that without Scrivener. I did, I must admit, have some problem with formatting, but the structure of Scrivener overall more than well outweighed that.

    Even though I consider my self at least somewhat experienced with Scrivener, it's interesting to see how others are using it.

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  34. Amber - I never thought about how using this program would work with writing a series. That is awesome and so encouraging for me. I have the first book in my MG series half written. Can't wait to explore the program more as I begin book II.

    Ulf - That's encouraging to here, as well!

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