How I Organize the Mess

Creation is messy.

First drafts are horrible.

Past the mid-point of a novel everything tends to get away from me.  It’s not a plotting or a planning problem.  It’s the sheer size of the document.  I spend too much time asking myself silly questions.  Where is one particular scene?  How does it all flow?  Did I spend too much time focusing on one character?  Is my timeline out of whack?  Where the heck am I anyway?  What did I call that thing I made up somewhere in the beginning?

Trying to manage all of this in a traditional word document is a nightmare.  It’s impossible to see the whole structure of the document unless you spend a lot of time working to make it happen.  You can create headers and bookmarks, but it’s still like trying to wrap your arms around a giant amoeba.

I tried using MS OneNote for a while.  It was almost as difficult.  Last year, in the middle of the panic of NANOWRIMO, a friend suggested Scrivener.  It was exactly what I needed.  When I get to the point where the whole thing is just too big, I can look in the sidebar at the outline.  Moving scenes around is as easy as drag and drop.  There are folders for characters, places and research.  Writing tools give you shortcuts to various resources.  It has a name generator.  It will export to a rtf file.

It’s safe to say that without Scrivener I would still be working on the draft of The Lost Gateway.  Instead, I’m working on the draft of novel number two.  🙂


About josephinebrooks

Fiction author
This entry was posted in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How I Organize the Mess

  1. Pingback: I Messed Up Today… | The Depressed Cook

  2. Jill London says:

    Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the great suggestion 🙂

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