Good morning and welcome to August. Last time I sat down to write in this space I was determined to write a screenplay and was moving along at a very good pace towards that goal, but as some writers say, “Once the excitement of a project grips you, it’s difficult to shake it loose.” and I found myself in the final weeks of the July focusing more and more on my fantasy novel. This is the one that I hand wrote and then spent nearly a year to get it transcribed into my Mac. Well, I read over that first draft and while there are parts I’m not happy about, there are parts that I can see has potential. The excitement pulled me back into that project as I started to come up with a plan to build the second draft, from scratch.
The first step involved building new cue cards for each chapter within Scrivener. This is where I was able to apply changes to the beginning of the story as I’ve been looking to do for some time. For the last several months I’ve been thinking about the beginning of the novel; trying to come up with a better beginning. I realized that I wasn’t looking for a better beginning, because the current one worked, but rather I needed a slower beginning. Don’t rush the opening, I thought. That’s the point when my excitement for the project skyrocketed. I was ready to start the rewrite. Like transcribing the novel, I worked backwards as I wrote a cue card for each of the chapters. I didn’t want to follow the story linear, but rather I wanted to think about what items does this chapter truly need. As my pile of cue cards grew and I moved closer to the beginning of the novel I decided to set the first draft aside and look at my cue cards and write down things that I need to introduce in order to get the rest of the story to work. Using this notes I started to build a slower, more complete opening to the novel. There are now six ‘new’ chapters, four of which are at the beginning and the other two are scattered elsewhere in the book.
In the image above I used Scrivener’s Metadata setting to assign a colour to each possible point of view character and then assigned a POV to each chapter. Down the left side of the screen is my list of chapters. In this random sampling you can see groupings of colours, Pink and Red are two characters travelling together, Yellow is one of the opposing characters and she is sprinkled throughout the book. As I develop my book, Scrivener allows me to move each chapter around using the drag and drop method rather than cutting and pasting as I would with something like Word or Pages. If you’ve never used Scrivener these files are both the cue cards (seen above) as well as the document, which I’ll show you in a future article.
Scrivener allows you to look at the chapters in a number of different ways. You can customize the Metadata to suit your needs. I made one of the fields POV and the other Story Arcs. Each chapter is assigned both a POV and a Story Arc. This allows me to move the chapters into unique Collections (as shown in the tabs in the upper left of the image). I have a tab for each of the Story Arcs. Since I have not finalized the POV, there are no POV collections. These collections are not copied of the main files, they are duplicates, they are the main files. I can edit a chapter in a collection and those edits will appear if I open the chapter from the main binder. This allows various ways to look at your novel without having to save your novel in different files and wondering which files have the latest edits.
I hope to finish the screenplay before the end of the year as it was on of my resolutions, however, my novel has captured my excitement right now and I’m going to let that excitement carry me forward. As one final note, I start reading book #12 on Tuesday, which completes my original resolution, but not my challenge (15 in 2015).
The next phase is back on paper as I have created Chapter Summary Sheets – but we can discuss that next time.