I’m still getting used to working with Scrivener, but its design is encouraging me to organize my manuscript in a better way.
When I wrote Owe Nothing, I saw individual scenes first; specific exchanges between characters, or particular story “beats” that were important to me. However, I didn’t start with much of an overall framework in mind – I went back later and analyzed my half-finished manuscript, documented the various plot-points, and tried to resolve or relate sub-plots. Then, I had to decide where to put my chapter breaks, make sure I had good hooks at the end of chapters, or create good break-points if there weren’t any.
Bottom line: Working that way, I wasn’t really in control of my story, because I didn’t create much of a plot skeleton for it when I began.
Scrivener’s design encourages the creation of an outline by making it easy to create little index cards on which you can bang out basic plot points and major events, and then progressively fill in details as you work from general to specific to develop each scene. Working with modular chunks of story (scenes) is the way it should be done, and Scrivener makes rearranging scenes as easy as dragging a piece from one place to another in the story outline.
This author has some good points on writing your content as scenes first, and then compiling them into Chapter folders after:
From “Clay’s Site” – “Using the Scene writing method with Scrivener”
In my last post about my own writing process, I covered a little about how Scrivener (and other tools) have helped me learn and improve my work-flow.