Project Management

I finally downloaded Scrivener to give it a try and see if it can be of any help with the project of partially rewriting and then streamlining that long novel I’ve been working on since September 2011. You all remember, I’m sure: the one that’s been sitting drafted but in need of epic rewriting since around June 2013; the one that got put aside because of DragonCon prep the rest of that summer and then me being pregnant and unable to write and then me having a new baby and therefore no time to write. So here we are at the end of 2014, and I am realizing that I will never write again (okay, okay, for the next 3-5 years, depending on how many children we have) unless I learn how to do it at night. So I’m going to learn how to do it at night. And what could be more efficient on the nights when I have no easy scene sketching words to write than to focus on the project with the shortest number of words left? So I said, fuck it, I’ll give the Scriv a try and see if it can help do what I’ve been admittedly too intimidated and/or disorganized to accomplish on my own, and that is figuring out exactly what needs to be shored up and reinforced in the architecture of the story as a whole.

So. Scrivener.

I have thus far only imported my Word doc and split what was one huge file into 44 chapters (plus prologue and epilogue), research, and notes, and added a quick summary of the action in each chapter to the “note card” outline view. Whew, boy, that was a chore – it took an hour and a half, the entirety of baby’s nap last Sunday.

Just seeing it all laid out has helped it all make a little more sense to me, because I can see more of it in my mind’s eye at once. The parts that need to be revised seem smaller when taken as their constituent parts. Also, I had forgotten that at some point last spring I went through and made a legend (by highlighting swaths of my doc) of the parts that can be deleted because they are now irrelevant and the parts that still occur but need details changed. Some of the scenes that I originally thought needed to be reworked can actually just be deleted, and some of the details changed amount to about two sentences in a scene. The amount of work is assailable.

I am still intimidated. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly, except that the beginning is still weak, has always been weak, and in my head is still a bit fuzzy and squishy and uncertain, and I have never been good at writing without knowing exactly what it is I’m trying to get across.

But at least I can count up all the scenes that need to change now. Well begun is half done.

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2 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping, Writing

2 responses to “Project Management

  1. Take ‘snapshots’ of files before you make changes – it’s just a copy, but that way you don’t lose things from previous versions. You can take as many as you like. You can compare different snapshots – Scrivener tells you what’s different between them. You can go back to a previous version.

    Saves your bacon. Kind of like a mini-Time Machine – only you have to do it.
    I have all my old text as the first snapshot, and then I take snapshots as I work on a file. I often delete most of them when I’ve finished for sure, but they are only text files and don’t take up much space.

    I use a bunch of Scrivener features – the extra panes on the Inspector panel – for all kinds of things. Some of them are documented in my Scene template posts.

    I wouldn’t go back to Word if you paid me. Email me if you need questions answered (I’m not an expert, but I’ve been using it since July 2013).

    The layout feature alone is amazing: set up the screen the way you want it, save that layout with a name, and you can go back to displaying things exactly as you like. I have several layouts for editing, others for the outline, others for different size cards in the corkboard option.

    I check a couple of days ago: Pride’s Children is 65 MEGABYTES now, and it slows down only a little on saves. Everything else is the same as it was at 650 KB. For me, it was worth the investment of time.

    • Thank you for offering to be a resource! I looked at their suggested tutorial, saw it was 2 hours, laughed, and watched the 9-min youtube video that showed how to open a document, break it into parts, and move things. Enough to get started; enough to do what I need for this moment. If i find specific questions i might hit you up! Just a listing like this of some of the features is helpful. 🙂

      Now to make my brain do what i need after long days at work and/or long days of keeping up with my little man… Mayhap necessity will do what preference never could with respect to wrangling my ADD and findin that quiet inner voice in the chaos of a mind that has been used all day. Perhaps my addiction to writing will prove stronger than my inner squirrel.

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