NaNo Prep: What Writing Tools Do You Use?

by Jami Gold on October 30, 2012

in Writing Stuff

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Today is my last “NaNo Prep” post, as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month—write a 50K word novel during November) starts on Thursday. But stay tuned because I’m planning a big post on Thursday with a gift for all romance writers.

I’m excited about NaNo because this is the first year I’ll be participating. Of course I always have to be difficult, so I’m stepping in to my first NaNo as a Rebel. *smile* NaNo Rebels are those who tweak the rules a bit but try to follow the spirit of NaNo anyway.

For example, I’m finishing a story I started this past summer. I’ve made it through the first 23,000 words, and I’m now heading into the dreaded middle act. I figure another 50,000 new words will get me close to finishing the story. However, working on a story I’ve already started puts me into “NaNo Rebel” territory. So be it.

Believe me, Act One is always quick for me, and NaNo will be all about the tricky stuff. This is no “easy way out.”

I do want to follow the spirit of NaNo as much as possible though. So all new words must come from new chapters and scenes. I won’t be adding words to any of the previous scenes for my NaNo count.

In fact, I’m doing all my NaNo work in an entirely different program. I’m using NaNo to try out the writing program Scrivener (for Windows and Mac). As a NaNo sponsor, Scrivener offers a free trial for the duration of November. Then they give all NaNo participants and winners a discount in December. That sounded like the perfect excuse to finally try this program I’ve heard so much about from friends.

I spent part of this past weekend working through the Scrivener tutorial, and yesterday, I figured out how to set up word count targets for each of the story beats. So I’m feeling fairly prepared. At least for a pantser. *snicker*

My template for beats, word count targets, and progress bars in Scrivener

My template for beats, word count targets,
and progress bars in Scrivener.
(click through for larger image)

But I’m still learning Scrivener, so I’d like to hear from other users how they integrate the program into their writing process. Or if you use other writing tools, I’d like to know how you figured out what worked for you.

Are you a NaNo Rebel? What rules are you breaking and how are you still trying to follow the spirit of NaNo? Do you use Scrivener? For drafting, editing, or both? How much do you use the Research and non-draft sections? What other writing tools do you use and why? Any advice for a Scrivener newbie?

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51 Comments below - Time to Add your own.

Todd Moody October 30, 2012 at 5:55 am

I actually bought Scivener for Windows last year, but it doesn’t work for me becuase I write on multiple platforms and it only lets you install on one system. Dropbox is my tool of choice, i can laod it on my iPhone, my iPad, and every computer in my house. All my kids use it too and we can write from any open computer and print to our LAN printer.

I am staying true to the NaNo rules for the 3rd straight time, and starting a new story nugget. I am more prepared than ever for this year, but yesterday I recieved info from my Master’s program that I had until 16 November to submit a piece of writing for critique for the January course. Perfect timing! So I sat down last night and pumped out 10 pages. I didn’t want that in my head when NaNo starts. Hehe. ;) I’m getting excited, but I have to fly during the day on Thursday, so I am starting a little behind. Plus this weekend I am going to Bloomington to visit my daughter for her sorority Dad’s day. I am going to have some catching up to do unless I can get a big word count on Friday. Whew, I’m feeling the pressure already. :)

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 8:48 am

Hi Todd,

Yes, that multiple computer issue is a concern for me, as I write on my desktop, a laptop, and a mini. I don’t want to have to buy 3 copies. :) (Update: the Scrivener folk just answered my question–they offer a “household license,” so it’s all good. Yay!)

I’m not getting everything done ahead of NaNo like I hoped either–some important things, like, oh say, laundry. :) So I’m sure I’ll have days with zip and others for catch up. Good luck and thanks for the comment!

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Todd Moody October 31, 2012 at 4:56 am

I’ll have to look into it, I think I got a downloaded version, so it might be a major PITA to load it repeatedly. But if it really does well importing data it might be worth it.

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Jami Gold October 31, 2012 at 8:42 am

Hi Todd,

Yes, I figure I’ll have to download and activate the program on each computer. *shrug* If it makes things easier later, as you said, it’ll be worth it. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Damon J Courtney October 30, 2012 at 9:17 am

Actually, Scrivener has a really generous “household” license. One of the only I’ve seen of its kind. This is straight from their website:

Licence*
Scrivener comes with a generous “household” licence. This allows you to install Scrivener on multiple computers (of the same platform, so a Mac licence will not work on Windows, and vice versa) provided that you are the primary user or owner, and on any machines owned by members of your immediate family residing in your household. Businesses require separate licences for each user (site licences can be arranged).
* Not a spelling mistake—we’re British.

Use it on as many machines as you like within your family.

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 9:18 am

Hi Damon,

Yes, I updated my reply to Todd with that information as well. Great to know–thanks for sharing the details! :)

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Tamara LeBlanc October 30, 2012 at 7:54 am

Hmm, I’ve heard of Scrivner, but had no idea until now what it is.
It sounds cool, but I’m incredibly low tech when it comes to writing…Word works fo me, and I’m a creature of habit so I think I’ll stick to it.
Though I always amazed by your knowledge of tech stuff. I think it’s pretty cool that you’re so eager to try and learn new things.
I plan on beginning my new novel on Thursday. I have a blurb for it and some character bios, and thanks to your fantastic class I have some awesome planning know how and beatsheets to use (can’t wait)
I’m really excited about NaNo.
I hope I meet my goal.
Thank you so much for teaching your class, Jami. I got so much out of it!!
Best wishes on your NaNo endeavors!! :)
Have a great Tuesday,
Tamara

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 8:55 am

Hi Tamara,

I’m one of the few who really likes MS Word. I know it inside and out and don’t actually want to change. But I know so many who love Scrivener that I wanted to give it a try.

I’m usually a linear writer–I start at the beginning and work my way to the end–but with NaNo and the pressure of making word count, I thought I might need to take the approach Angela Quarles did with her fast draft experience of jumping between scenes every time she got stuck. Scrivener makes that easy. So Scrivener during NaNo might be the best way to test that theory. :)

Good luck with your novel and thanks for the comment! (And the kind words about my class! :) )

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Carradee October 30, 2012 at 8:02 am

I use Scrivener, but the way I use it varies a bit, depending on what I’m writing.

Things I usually do for novels:
• Break down planned scenes by chapter or day.
• Make sure I have a “To Do” and an “In Progress” status (for scenes) and a “N/A” status (for folders).
• If I’m using multiple POVs, I might create keywords for that.
• I set up the word count targets.
• If needed, I create template pages for what I’ll need to know about characters, places, groups.
• I put any such pages in a “Template” folder (it’s a function), so I can easily make new ones.
• I create two folders above the project folder: “MISPLACED” and “DITCH”, for use when I write or plan a scene that doesn’t fit or doesn’t work at all.
• I might import the cover mock-up and web pages and images and songs that make me think of the story—but I tend to prefer importing the on-computer images, linking to web pages, and making iTunes or Grooveshark playlists.

Um, that’s what I can think of.

I also use Write or Die, when I need a kick in the pants to just get words down and not worry about quality.

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

Hi Carradee,

Awesome! Thanks for sharing your tips!

I had the “To Do” and “In Progress” status options set and the POVs set up, but I hadn’t thought about those “misplaced” and “ditch” folders. Great idea!

I’m debating about how much extraneous information I’ll copy over. Right now, I have notes in text files and One Note sections, and I just created links to those in my Project Resources. It feels redundant to copy them over directly. We’ll see how it goes. :) Thanks for sharing and for the comment!

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Sonia Lal October 30, 2012 at 8:03 am

I love scrivner! I like it because I am not always a linear writer and it lets you move scenes around as you like

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 9:02 am

Hi Sonia,

Yes, I can see that flexibility being a big bonus. Normally, I’m a linear writer, but NaNo might change that up a bit, so that was one of my other reasons for trying Scrivener now. Thanks for the comment!

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Carradee October 30, 2012 at 9:33 am

Another benefit to Scrivener: If you self-publish, it’s the most efficient way I’ve found so far to produce nice-looking e-book files (EPUB, MOBI, etc). (Well, efficient after you figure out your work flow, at least.)

Speaking as someone who’s tried DOC, HTML, Sigil, Calibre, Pages…

Yeah.

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 10:25 am

Hi Carradee,

I’d heard rumors about that. :) Good to get confirmation! Thanks!

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Sonia Lal October 30, 2012 at 8:13 am

I did that last year. Finished, but after the new year. LOL

This year I am considering five 10000 word stories, which I suppose makes me even more of a rebel

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 9:02 am

Hi Sonia,

LOL! Yes, I’ve seen others in the Rebel forum talking about that approach as well. Good luck with however you decide to go and thanks for the comment!

P.S. Yep, I fixed your typo. :)

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Dasher Harton October 30, 2012 at 8:20 am

There’s nothing wrong with being a rebel!

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 9:06 am

Hi Dasher,

LOL! Yay! I wouldn’t want to get “kicked out” on my very first go-around. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Damon J Courtney October 30, 2012 at 9:25 am

As every new writer these days, I too use Scrivener. Combine it with Dropbox and use its External Folder Sync feature, and you have some really powerful, portable writing gear at your fingertips.

I use Scrivener on two different laptops (one at my desk, one in bed) and have Dropbox sync my project between them. It works really well, but if you’re actually keeping your project in Dropbox, you’ll need to pause Dropbox syncing while you’re writing since Scrivener is constantly auto-saving and writing files. Dropbox gets really angry when things are changing every second. :)

I also do some writing on my iPad from time to time. The Scrivener guys are actually working on an iPad version of their software, but in the meantime, if you’re on a Mac, you can sync your project as plain text files to an external folder (also conveniently located in Dropbox). I edit plain text files on my iPad using iA Writer, which get synced back to Dropbox, and then Scrivener will happily import all of my changes when I load my project up. I move around a lot when I’m writing. :)

As a major plotter, I tend to outline everything before I start. Even whole series if that’s what I’m working on. I use WorkFlowy these days for the outlining since I can do it from anywhere. Once I have the high level beats done, I’ll move them to Scrivener and start piecing the whole thing together with scenes and notes. I have the whole book carved out in Scrivener before I start writing. The few times I’ve “pants’d” it did not go well for me. :)

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Stephanie Scott October 30, 2012 at 9:44 am

I am in awe of this whole piecing together scenes from predetermined plot points. Some day, some day…

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hi Damon,

Okay, most of that made sense. LOL!

Hmm, so you don’t keep your Scrivener project itself in your Dropbox folder? That makes sense–I’ve been wondering about that aspect. I slowed down the automatic saves to try to get around that “continuous saving” issue.

You use the External Folder Sync to sync to Dropbox occasionally? Unfortunately, I don’t think that function exists in the PC version yet. Maybe soon. :) That would solve some of the issues.

Thank you so much for sharing your tips! I appreciate it! :)

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Damon J Courtney October 30, 2012 at 10:48 am

You basically have two options for keeping the project in Dropbox:

1. Turn down the auto-save timer so that it is way less frequent
or
2. Pause Dropbox syncing while you are writing.

1 means if your computer crashes for any reason (dog knocks it off the desk, kid spills water on it, Windows just randomly reboots) you lose whatever was unsaved since you last hit Control-s or since the auto-save timer went off. Remember that if the auto-save is set to something like 30 seconds, it doesn’t mean Scrivener is saving every 30 seconds, it means it’s saving anytime Scrivener is IDLE for 30 seconds.

2 means that while Scrivener is still saving every 2 seconds or so (the default auto-save timer), you’re not syncing to Dropbox the whole time. If your computer comes unplugged or just reboots for some reason, you’re fine, but if your hard drive suddenly dies, you have no backup to Dropbox.

I generally go with #2 and just pause Dropbox. The likelihood that my hard drive is going to crash in some unrecoverable way is way less than my computer hanging or going down for some reason. Once I’m done writing, I just turn Dropbox syncing back on, and everything gets pushed out.

Also, make sure your backups are turned on and that you’re saving them regularly. This can save you big time. :)

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Hi Damon,

You’d be surprised by how many hard drives I’ve killed. :) (Uh-oh, did I just out myself as a serial hard drive murderer? LOL!) On the other hand, I usually have battery backup for power outages. I currently have the auto-save set to 30 seconds. We’ll see how that works for me.

The only concern on that end is the computer hanging entirely. Which I manage to do with alarming frequency as well. (What do you mean I shouldn’t have 8 Word documents, 3 Excel spreadsheets, 5 windows in Chrome, and several tabs in Opera, Firefox, IE, as well as TweetDeck and a virtual machine all running at the same time??? ;) ) But that all means I have saving frequently deeply ingrained in my habits, and I’ll just use “saves” to manually run a backup too. :) Thanks again for all the tips!

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Carradee October 30, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Upgrade your RAM.

Just sayin’. ^_^

I was losing sometimes a full day’s work to MS Office until I upgraded my RAM, therein discovering that it’s a RAM hog, sometimes wanting more than 4 GB of RAM (MS Office for Mac). It still crashes sometimes, but much less often, and I only lose a few paragraphs, at most…

As long as I ignore the Autosave file. I always have Autosave set to the most frequent save possible, and Office’s Autosave sucks. (Pardon my language.)

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Hi Carradee,

Yeah…see…um, I’m the kind of person who will push her computer to the breaking point no matter what. I’ve gotten several upgrades to my RAM (I think I’m at 12 now?), and every time I just say, “Oh cool, now I can do this and this and this and it’s not crashing anymore.” So I proceed to push it even harder. I’m hopeless. :)

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Mikki_Q October 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm

All hail Dropbox! My favorite piece of technology in recent years…

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Stephanie Scott October 30, 2012 at 9:41 am

I bought Scrivener for Windows earlier this year after hearing about it from Nano back in 2010. It has a lot of cool features but some of it is a bit trial-and-error. One thing I haven’t been able to change is when you compile the docs and save it as a word doc, the font is courier. I always select all and change it immediately. If you do a lot of saving over to word you do have to adjust the word doc a bit for headings, margins etc. But I think that scrivener’s other features outweigh this. I’m probably only using 30-40% of what scrivener offers, but I’m learning more with each new project.

I may also be a Nano rebel this year; I have a project I wrote maybe 5k-10k words on earlier, but it’s essentially just scenes and character notes and not a structured story. Like you, I figured if I wrote 50k NEW words this is legit, even though it builds on an existing idea.

I really had designs on outlining for my new project. I am just not an outliner. I get SO ANTSY to write! I’ve been more or less brainstorming character traits and potential plot changes. I tried to write out a sample beat sheet but I feel like I need to write more to get to those later plot developments. I may be a pantser for life.

Thanks for the great thoughts on Nano, I’m going to check out your other posts.

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Damon J Courtney October 30, 2012 at 9:59 am

The formatting going out to Word depends on what compile preset you’ve chosen. If it’s going out as Courier, you probably picked “Standard Manuscript Format”. As in the format you would use to submit your MS to an editor or agent, which is generally required to be Courier. Which is awful. :)

Choose a setting like “E-book” and then change the output to a Word doc. That should give you a better start. You can also select the Formatting tab under “All Options” and change the font formatting for everything. Pick new fonts for your chapter headings, title, etc… If none of that suits your fancy, the “Quick Font Override” option basically lets you blow away any crazy fonts in your Scrivener project and forcibly output the whole darned thing as whatever font you want.

There’s a lot to learn about compiling the different formats, but I hope that helps going out to Word. Feel free to drop me an email if you want some help, though the guys over at Scrivener are really good and quick to answer. I don’t work there or anything, I just happen to be a computer guy who wants to be a writer. :)

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 10:35 am

Hi Damon,

Wow, thanks for all the great information! :) Thank you so much for sharing!

I struggled with Scrivener making everything Courier for me in Draft and I finally figured out that I had to click the blue A in the Options–>Editing screen to change it. LOL! Some things are not as intuitive as they could be, so I appreciate the inside scoop. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Stephanie Scott October 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Thanks so much! I have customized the compile tab but the manuscript setting doesn’t have an option to change the font from courier; I never thought about trying the E-book option, though so I might do that. After a google search I finally tracked down how to change the overall font setting within Scrivener, which is better than default Courier. Not sure why I hate Courier so much but it’s just wide and ugly seeming.

Thanks again!

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Hi Stephanie,

I agree. I hate Courier with a passion. LOL!

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 10:29 am

Hi Stephanie,

Yes, I think Compiliing is a whole new learning curve that I’m not ready to tackle quite yet. One thing at a time–I’ll start with drafting. LOL!

As for plotting vs. pantsing and my “beats.” Yes, I’m a pantser for life. :) So my beats are very high level: “X reveals his secret,” “Y dies,” “Z confesses,” etc. I use them just as touchstones to write toward. Good luck in NaNo and thanks for the comment!

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AJ Bradley October 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm

You say, “I’m finishing a story I started this past summer. I’ve made it through the first 23,000 words, and I’m now heading into the dreaded middle act. I figure another 50,000 new words will get me close to finishing the story. However, working on a story I’ve already started puts me into “NaNo Rebel” territory.”

Which is SCARY because it could be me writing that, even down to the word count (I’m at 26,584 and have been since August). I guess I’m a rebel too, yay! Best of luck Jami, see you in NaNoLand.

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Hi AJ,

LOL! That is funny. Best of luck to you on your NaNo Rebel project too! Thanks for the comment! :)

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Stina Lindenblatt October 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I use it, but I cheat since the PC version isn’t as good as the MAC one. I copy my scene into Word, do my edits with Tracker, then paste the new version in Scrivener. :D

I like that I can keep all my research and planning in one easy to find place.

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Hi Stina,

Yes, I love the commenting features of MS Word, so I would never leave it behind entirely. I could see drafting and playing around with scenes in the Scrivener format, editing in Word, and then using the compile of Scrivener again to make ebooks. :) Whatever works, right? Thanks for the comment!

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Jordan McCollum October 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I wish you’d had this post yesterday! I had to Google a bit to figure out how to change the default font, and then I turned off the auto-indent (I will never stop tabbing!!!) (and it takes like 5 minutes to take them all out of the document and get it properly formatted).

I *see* a comment feature in Scrivener, but I don’t really know what it does. I’m trying it out this year for Nano, but I’m honestly a little worried about how minimal the formatting options are. Of course, I don’t use them when drafting (or really that much, ever).

So far I’ve just been playing with character files. Which is fun :) .

I’ve actually been thinking about the same thing: writing in Scrivener, editing in Word (I definitely can’t give up my macros!) and compiling from Scrivener. Funny.

For me, the jury will be out on Scrivener until I’ve really started writing in it.

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hi Jordan,

Yes, I didn’t figure out how to change the default font until I…*gasp*…read the manual. LOL! Hmm, I don’t remember seeing anything about comments in the manual, so I have no idea what those might be. Regardless, I’ll definitely be sticking with Word for that aspect.

Ooo, how are you doing character files? I’ve had all my stuff in various places for a while, so I’m loathe to redo everything, but it’s good to know for next time. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Jordan McCollum October 30, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Nothing fancy on the character files. So far, this is what I’ve done:

*Duplicate the Character Sketch from the Template Sheets folder. (Duh. Took me forever to find them.)
*Added some categories to the sketch template: internal/external GMC and Michael Hauge character questions (Smart people would have done that first. I didn’t.)
*Forced myself to fill them in!
*Made the cards picture cards and put a character picture on the main sketch card
*Made subcards on the character sketch for a freewrite and for more picture cards
*Grouped some characters into folders (and then made the card for the folder a picture card and put a collage of them on there, so I can see all my pretty peoples in corkboard mode)

I wish Scrivener for Windows had the freeform corkboard option.

(Funnily enough, my research section is empty. Most of the research I’m doing is DEEP background, and I don’t expect to be writing in great detail about how to ret and process flax, for example.)

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Hi Jordan,

I really want to have my characters’ pictures easily accessible. I should do that. :)

Great job on getting all your character information together. It sounds fantastic. Thanks for the comment!

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Jordan McCollum October 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Also helps that I just got this idea like two weeks ago ;) . Making it up as I go!

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Jami Gold October 31, 2012 at 12:50 am

Hi Jordan,

Ha! I love it. Making it up as I go is the only way I do it. ;)

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Jordan McCollum October 30, 2012 at 8:16 pm

New questions: what kind of template did you use for your project? (I went ahead and used the Nano template.) I usually divide my plotting into parts like you have in your example. Are you using folders within these folders for chapters?

I . . . uh . . . kind of haven’t put the actual plot into Scrivener yet. Holy crap, it’s the 30th. Yeah. Laundry? Yeah.

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Hi Jordan,

I started with the NaNo Template, changed the font, tweaked the Outliner columns, added a folder for each beat, and added the target word count breakdown for each of those beat folders. I’m not worrying about chapters yet. I’ll just start a new document for each scene and work out the chapters later–maybe in Word, where I have better visibility of the number of pages in a chapter.

Yeah, laundry isn’t happening for me this week either. :) Good luck and thanks for the comment!

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E.R. October 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I love Scrivener, but I’m relatively new to it as well. I love making the character sketches and attaching pictures to them, and I also love that I can flip flop from my plotting and character documents to the actual manuscript without leaving the program–it’s all right there for me. The book I’m writing for NaNo will be my first project using Scriv, and I’m excited, but like you, I’m a rebel! I’ve already written the first chapter (not the whole first act!). I started it a while ago and decided it was the project I would finish for NaNo.

As far as Scrivener, I haven’t used the “research” section at all, but I have used document notes. I put all my plotting documents in it, as well as my character sketches, and I even created a chapter outline to keep me on pace.

The only thing I can’t decide is if I’m going to like having a separate file for each chapter or if I would prefer to have one solid manuscript. I’m going to try it their way, though, and then decide. Good luck this year!

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Jami Gold October 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Hi E.R.,

Yay! *fist bump* to more NaNo Rebels. :)

Yes, as you can see from my Outliner view, so far I’m not going to have a folder for each chapter. I’ll just start a new document for each scene and figure out the chapters later. :)

The main thing I wanted with my organization was a way to tie in the word count for each beat. I know those intuitively with Word (because if I’m aiming for an 85K story, I know the Midpoint will come around 42K, etc.), but I needed some visibility into this Scrivener project’s word count as a whole–and that’s all complicated by the fact that 23K of the story won’t be in the program. So yes, I’m having to be very bizarre about my word count targets this time around. LOL! Good luck on your project and thanks for the comment!

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Mikki_Q October 31, 2012 at 10:17 pm

NaNo Rebels, unite! While I have Scrivener, I’ve always used the My Writing Spot website (http://www.mywritingspot.com/) to do NaNoWriMo. It’s tied to the Google ID, and cloud-based, so I can pretty much hop on any computer anywhere and work. While the manuscript I’m finishing is in Word, I’ll use this program for the “new” stuff this month. There are even companion apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire, etc. etc., so fewer excuses for not keeping the word count up. Hope this is useful for some of you! (Did I mention it’s FREE?!)

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Jami Gold October 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Hi Mikki_Q,

Oh cool! I hadn’t heard of that before. I’ll have to check it out. :) Thanks for sharing and good luck in NaNo!

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E.F. Blevins November 20, 2012 at 7:53 am

So glad to find this post, and to read about the existence of NaNoWriMo Rebels! November is really the worst month for me, in terms of trying to write consistently every day (especially this year, which started off with a hurricane, my basement flooding and no electricity for a couple of days!)–besides Thanksgiving, there are several school holidays, etc. I am planning to write 50K words, but over the course of three months instead of one. But I really do like having that NaNoWriMo meter to put my word count into–it reminds me to write on a regular basis. Does anyone know where I can find an ongoing, online word count meter? [Any chance that the NaNoWriMo meter will still operate after Dec. 1st?]

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 9:02 am

Hi E.F.,

Ouch! Yes, definitely not a good November for word count for you. Sorry for all of that. *hugs*

As for word counters, Scrivener has a great one built into the program that allows you to set a project word count and a per day (session) word count. So for NaNo, the project word count is 50K and the session word count is 1667 (50K divided by the 30 days of November). You could put any numbers into each of those fields. I (and many others) have found that it’s hugely motivating to see your session word count inch toward green (instead of red) as you write each day. :) So it’s not the shiny calendar of NaNo, but it’s still a great tool.

I haven’t used it yet, but I’ve seen others talk about WriteTrack, which allows you to assign different “weights” to different days and it will adjust your daily word count goals to accommodate. For example, you could assign a low number to Thanksgiving and a high number to the weekend after the relatives all leave. :) Sounds intriguing.

I hope that helps! Thanks for the comment!

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