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Scrivener and Revision


toujours gai, archie
I've been using Scrivener for a few years now. I keep finding new approaches. This one looks to be prove useful. It takes advantage of Notes and Synopsis, along with Compile. The useful part comes during the heavy lifting that comes during second and third drafts, where I do a lot of rewriting and can easily get lost in the Weeds of Revision.

First, I use Scrivener to work in scenes. Any one chapter might hold one to several files. These might be separate but related scenes, but they are also sometimes a second or third take on the same scene, fragments that I think belong here, and so on. It's rather a mess. Eventually, all those files get edited into a single file that is one chapter. Each file can have a Synopsis and Notes attached to it. By using Compile, I can print or view only the Notes for the novel, letting me focus on the editing side.

The Synopsis can hold anything. I use it to hold the day (and time, if appropriate) of the action for that scene. This helps me keep chronology straight. In addition I can put in character names for the scene, I also put in a one-line summary of what happens. Just the key. Details go into Notes.

Notes hold my editing notes and can be as long or short as needed. Notes also allow formatting, so I can italicize or whatever, to help me in review. I am finding this to be more useful than Comments, which get tied to specific passage. There's a place for that as well, but what each scene really needs is me talking to myself about what work this particular scene still needs. Comments are best for sentence-level stuff; Notes work best for file (scene)-level stuff.

Over in Compile, I can create an output specifically designed to print just the Synopsis and Notes, along with the file name, word count, and whatever other metadata I find useful. I'm still fiddling with that. For perspective, I just printed the Editing Notes for my current novel. The novel itself stands at about 98k right now, so printing the novel itself would run to hundreds of pages. The Editing Notes come to 42 pages. With that in hand, I can go back to the novel and start doing the hard work. BTW, the output goes to an RTF file which I then print from LibreOffice; I could just as well leave it as RTF and consult it on screen.

Maybe someone else will find this inspirational if not directly useful. It's a good example, I think, where specific writing software provides tools a regular word processor does not.


Myth Weaver
While I dont write in Scrivener, I do use it quite a bit. I do put all my notes in it, and a copy of the work on a scene by scene basis, which does help me look at and visualize the tale as whole. And I have used a number of its tools to some effect, like producing an outline, or labelling scenes and showing all of those pertaining to just one character.

I did try to use it once to compile things but it did not stick with me. When formatting, I ended up just doing it in word.

For me, personally, and I do like having Scrivener, I find some of the old habits are hard to break, even if there is a better tool out there. I still use word, notepad, and excel quite a bit. I am a pro at those products though. Its easy for me to work in them.