Category Archives: Writing Tools

What We Talk About When We Talk About Writing Software

So I have discovered that I love Scrivener, that I can figure out how to make it work for me, and that it makes life so much easier to write a short story. Now, let's see if I can finish adapting the method for novelling.

So. Details.

I finished an almost 7000 word Christmas short story in the nick of time for Christmas reading, then finished editing it in 20 minutes. The formatting was a pain, due to one serious frustration: it is literally impossible to merge text items or compile them without separators. I'm a controlling type when it comes to my formatting. I was using a different glyph for every scene separator and had several scenes split up into several text files. Needless to say, manually batting cleanup after Scrivener was. not. fun.

I tried reorganizing The Rothnen Cycle and Vardin project into the same format I had done the Christmas short story (and related stories) and immediately saw an improvement in my workflow. I label the draft "Current" and keep separate folders for Imported Files, Sketches, Working Files, and Compiled Stories. Within "Working Files," I keep a file folder for each story and treat those as my draft documents. It gets messy. Under "Sketches," I put the original story sketch that I duplicate and split to get working files. This allows me to keep a record of how my muse works and stories I'm not ready to flesh out yet. When I'm done with a story, I duplicate the working file folder, merge it all into a single text, and drop it under compiled. If I ever want to go back and plunk in more edits (like newly discovered typos), I update the working files and remerge. The current is where I plunk any compiled doc I want to compile to print or pdf. Works beautifully.

How goes your writing process?

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