Book Reviews, Writing Advice

Scrivener – A review.

I am terrible at organising plots. It’s fine for 7+ stories- I can hold it together for 15,0000 words, but top 50,000 and forget it.

I’ve tried:

Post it notes – they unstick, float away and get covered in dog hair.

Spreadsheets – Kind of works but really, no, spreadsheets are for numbers, working on them puts my brain  in the wrong place.

Scrawly diagrams– how does this help? It’s like putting the scrawly contents of my head on a page. It’s still a mess.

Note cards – Hmmm – kind of – but it’s not linear enough and besides,  I hate writing long hand, my writing is illegible.

Note books – good for gathering, not good for organising.

Word – is great but too linear – how do you shuffle things around, slide in new text at just the right place? You still need to hold your story line, and all its complexities,  in your head.

What you need, thought I, is a Word/Notecard/Post it/Spreadsheet combination.  I thought I had invented it. I had not.  Scrivener got there first.

I was having problems with my latest MS – I mean serious structural problems. I needed to completely rewrite, tightening up the frame and weaving new dimensions into the fabric.  I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task.

So I avoided it. I procrastinated all over the internet and accidentally came across this:

So I downloaded the free trial of Scrivener and played with  it for a few days.  I got excited, transferred my MS into it. Then I got a bit cross.

The 30 day trial period is about right. It took me a while  to love this piece of software. I resented it in the way I used to resent tidying my room. Slowly, however, I learned to appreciate it.

It’s like having post-its on a pinboard without the dog hair. And with a click,  you can drill down through to the chapter behind the post-it. You can summarise each chapter, making reference easy. You can slide chapters around, and even scenes in chapters. You can have easy  access to character profiles, mood boards, crazy idea files. You can set targets, check your progress and export to Word when you’re done.

I love it.

I’ve nearly finished re-writing my MS in it and I think I’ve made a cleaner job because of it.

I’m a Scrivener Convert.

What about you? How do you organise your plots? Or am I alone in having such an untidy brain?