Today I’m delighted to welcome fellow Carina author Aurelia B. Rowl.
Thank you for inviting me onto your blog, I’m thrilled to be here.
One thing that Sarah and I have in common – aside from the same publisher – is that we both use a writing software called Scrivener. In fact, I’m not sure I’d have achieved as much so soon without it because it truly is invaluable to me as a writer, so I thought I’d tell you a little more about it.
I’m not going to try and teach you how to use Scrivener though – there is a perfectly good tutorial within the software itself and if you do a quick search on the internet, you’ll be met with a whole heap of articles – but I can share with you some of the ways that I personally use Scrivener, and I thought I’d do it with the help of some pictures.
These pictures are actually screenshots from my custom template, which is something I’ve modified and tweaked so that I have everything I need already set up when I start a new project
First stage: plotting (plus overview)
In the left-hand column you’ll see all of the files and folders I work with, and in the right hand column you’ll see the info for meta-data and such. In the centre section, set in Scrivenings mode in this instant, you’ll see the very first screen I come to when I start a project… creating the storyboard based on the W-plot structure.
If I’ve already got a good idea on some of the key scenes – the islands – I’ll fill in the relevant index card right away, and speaking of index cards, here is the what the screen looks like, and it’s a great way seeing my story on one page:
Second stage: brainstorming (plus meta-data settings)
Sometimes I don’t know exactly what happens in the story, and even when I know the big picture I still need to figure out the scenes that will get me from points A to B and so on. In another life pre-kids and pre-writing, I used to have to go to “brainstorming sessions” where no idea is a bad idea and everything gets written down so that’s exactly what I do.
Opening up a new index card for each and every idea, no matter how far-fetched or ridiculous, I record each possible scene or action because you never know if that will then spawn another idea or a new thread to follow. I also get all my back-story ideas out here too, to help get a good feel for the characters or setting before I actually get on with writing.
There may also be times a story just isn’t working or a scene feels flat and lifeless so I can return to my brainstorming cards and see if anything else could fulfil the purpose better. Throughout a project, I may keep dipping into the possible scenes and dragging them into the actual manuscript.
Highlighted in this screenshot as well are the different labels I use, assigning a colour to each one and then having that colour show in the binder – that first column – and the outline.