Organizing Scrivener Files
When writing a story, keeping the work organized and the details readily available is the greater difficulty of the writing process. Being able to come up with the idea and flesh it out is not necessarily easy but if your material is organized much the same as a ball of yarn after the cat has played with it, you’re in for an uphill struggle to get your tale told. When I talk about organizing your writing, I’m thinking about the external process. This brief article from the National Council for the Teachers of English provides some insight for organizing your writing from the first word to the last punctuation mark.
Keith Blount, the developer of Scrivener software for writers, made a difference in my whole outlook on writing. I had an opportunity to interview him recently. The resulting article is posted on my Hubpage. Since discovering Scrivener, I’ve developed a few different uses for its most basic of features. Below, I’ll share how I use Scrivener to organize a few of the books I have in work.
Blogs Articles and Info
When I started writing seriously, the first thing I did was set up social media accounts. After a point, keeping track of the links to the various pages and which ones I had set up was an insurmountable task. I started an author information folder and began compiling all the disparate information in one place, grouping like bits of information together. I didn’t keep track of the passwords there since I have so many passwords for social media and other applications and websites.
At the time, I found it helpful to keep track of some of my shorter writing efforts there as well. If you look at the image below, you’ll see I have a folder for blog posts, magazines and freelance, newsletters and other things. Under each of the folders I include another folder for each magazine, newsletter, freelance project etc. I foresee moving the magazines and freelance to another Scrivener project at some point. That won’t be a challenge at all as one can just drag and drop from one scrivener project to another.
One feature I really love is the cork board. In the image below you’ll see index cards on a cork background. If you look on the menu on the left, you’ll see that the Magazines and Freelance tab is highlighted (my addition is the yellow tint). Click on the folder for the content you want to see on the cork board, in this case the Magazines and Freelance folder, then click on the cork board option at the top to the right of the composite option. The previous image shows the display in composite view. In cork board view you can easily reorder your text. Each stack of cards represents the subfiles under the selected folder.
Of Black Holes and Universes
My next collection of short stories is underway, Of Black Holes and Universes. This is the simplest arrangement of how I keep track of my writing projects. Take a look at the tab marked Black Beauty. The subfile under it is labeled jottings. I keep any pertinent information in this file. On a book I’ve published under another moniker, I have a number of such information folders including a jottings folder for each chapter. I keep an extensive list of character information in another subfile. Files which include information which applies to the whole book are kept immediately under the project (binder) folder. The image in the next section provides another example of the information I shared in this section.
The Wind Time
For writing in which you create another world, the volume of details accumulates quickly. This information has to be the foundation of the rule book for that world. It’s important to develop this new locale with close attention to continuity. Under the binder title, The Wind Time, I have notes, vocabulary and table of contents folders because they pertain to the whole project not just a chapter or so. The idea jottings folders are under each chapter file. Another new thing is a file for making note of things to do. Many times these tasks occur to me when I’m doing something other than writing, so I make a note on a scrap of paper or something and try to remember to transfer it to the things to do list. This is how I kept on task with another book I had completed. For that book, I also had a glossary.
At it’s most simple level of use, Scrivener is just what every writer – novice or bestseller – needs to have for use in developing their story. I’ve provided a link to the Scrivener website.
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