Scrivener Series: Novel Project – Wallowing

Scrivener-Logo
This is the second installment in my Scrivener Series, which showcases how I use Scrivener to write help me write entire novel series. Be sure to check out the previous installment (Bible) or check out my writing process post for a preview of what I’m going to cover next.

Alright I’ve already mentioned that my writing process has changed, a lot, since I wrote my first novel (over the course of seven horrible years). I’ve outlined what my new process looks like and I’ve started out by showing you how to start a series bible using Scrivener. Now it’s time to look at how I use Scrivener to write each novel in the series.

First up I keep a separate Scrivener project for each series. One, project. Not a folder of projects. One single Scrivener project for the whole damn series. If you’ve experienced trying to find that one note you scribbled a scene on six months ago, or trying to find where you tucked that last bit of free writing that had some vital ideas about world building then you can understand that having a single project for all those notes and bits is a godsend.

Thanks to Scrivener I can jot down any number of scenes, notes, free writing, whatev’s, all in one document and then easily find, fix and resort the pile for later use. I can keep all my notes from novel one – with all my overly early ideas for novel four – in the same working document so that when novel four finally gets here, I’ve got all those great ideas ready to review. When I’m finally ready to compile a single novel I can export as a single .doc or .docx file and then go through it with a fine tooth comb fixing formatting (the one thing that Scrivener does not seem to get right at the moment, is format retention) before I send it off for final edits and read-throughs.

Why am I harping on Scrivener’s ability to keep all your notes and novels in a single project? Because of the first stage when I write a new novel: the wallowing.

Since I write series in two, very, different universes I find the switch over thought process to be a bit easier to achieve by taking a few days (the goal is a maximum of thirty days but sometimes it takes three times as many) to wallow in the world of the novel.

What do I mean by wallowing? I luxuriate in the world. I smell the flowers, poke the things in the dark, ask questions of all the lead characters and villains and I write short stories based on whatever part of that world is catching my fancy till it’s every bit as present as the reality I live in.

A funny thing starts to happen as I immerse myself more and more deeply in the world of the story, the novel starts to take shape and soon I’m writing more scenes for the upcoming novel than I am random shorts or character assessments. It becomes more and more pressing that I start putting all of those bits into the right order, connecting the dots, figuring out why exactly this character is going to do this or that, what in their past makes them such an ass here.

That’s when I start writing the timelines for various characters and the outlines for the new novel. Which I’ll cover in the next post.

Keep in mind this all happens in ONE Scrivener project! Usually I mark a folder as “preparations for book 1-2-3” and just stick all this stuff in there at first. I can always separate scenes and notes into different folders later but in the beginning the important part is to write and keep writing while focusing on the right universe.

Now if you’re a reader and just want to skip all the technical jargon, feel free to sign up for an email alert and I’ll just let you know when my next release is coming out.

Short, Sweet and Sassy

While I was stuck in bed away from my working computer and basically miserable, I couldn’t help but think of writing. Specifically synopsis and what really makes a good one. One that’s interesting, draws you right in but though it doesn’t lie and clearly mentions key point’s also doesn’t give anything away. Brief without feeling like an ad, in short: nothing if not distilled awesome.

In my head if it’s got to be short, sweet and sassy it’s got to be this brief description of the classic film, The Wizard of Oz.

Written Rick Polito for a 1998 TV Guide, this little gem has made the rounds of the internet meme scene for years and it’s entirely true and ridiculously intriguing for a modern audience (on the off chance that there’s someone alive who hasn’t seen the Wizard of Oz) all within the scope of one sentence.

In my fevered state of course I had to try my hand at a few similar snippets for one of my books as well.

Ash of Ambitions

  • Innocent woman gets caught up in the sinister machinations of a murderous family’s plots.
  • Sweet loner has unwanted guests suddenly heaped upon her. Body count rises.

Well that was fun. Got any sassy little blurbs of your own to share? Go ahead and post ’em in the comments.

Tumblr

Big news flash and sounding of sirens.

I have a new Tumblr account.

That’s it.

I honestly have no idea what I’m going to do with it or if it really has anything to do with my writing and should therefore be brought up here. Probably not. Though I did notice a lot of villain love going on on Tumblr, which is why I made the account (all of my characters could be called villains, even the nice ones, no really) but I’m not sure what to do with it beyond that except enjoy basking in the love of really questionable men and women with my people.

If you’ve got a villain related Tumblr feel free to post in the comments! I’m desperately looking for more villainy to follow. Especially female villains. So far my Tumblr is almost entirely Hannibal, not that the well mannered cannibal isn’t an awesome villain – I just live for variety.

The Essence of Blargle Splect

Moments ago I was staring at my manuscript – drawing a complete blank. I don’t remember what I wrote yesterday, the day before that, all month long. Worse I’m not even sure what I’ll write next. It’s not that the voices are silent (gods I wish) no, it’s more like they’re holding their council and I don’t have high enough clearance to know what’s going on.

Continue reading

A Day in the Life of Crimewriter Tim Ellis

Ever have that feeling that the whole world is conspiring to keep you from writing your novel? Between bouts of sick, migraines, random power outages and downed internet I am – still – plugging away at “Toxic Ash” rather doggedly. Unfortunately that means I’ve been neglecting the blog. Fortunately Crimewriter (not to be confused with Crimefighter) Tim Ellis is here to the rescue!

Continue reading

How I Write

I am still horribly ill with the flu that just won’t be through. Thankfully another awesome author has stepped up and offered up a guest post with some insights into their writing process. Seb Kirby is a thriller writer with worlds of experience and an awesome mustache – take it away, Seb!

How I WriteWell, first I think that’s a very personal thing and that every author will have their own take on this. There’s no right or wrong way. As W. Somerset Maugham said: ‘There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no-one knows what they are.’

Basically, I prefer the Stephen King approach as set out in his ‘On Writing’. You know, the book he wrote after he was hit by a truck when he was out walking to clear his mind after a writing session. The truck that nearly killed him. You get the idea that he felt he had to put it all in that book, just in case.

Continue reading