I thought I’d take a few minutes to share a revelation I’ve had recently with writing software. Off the bat, I’m aware I may be way behind the curve here, but I’m still very excited!
When I wrote The Spyglass And The Cherry Tree, I used Microsoft Word to set out the manuscript by default. As the story was largely linear with only one thread it worked quite well; however, with the follow up novel, Emperor In The East, I wanted a much more multi-threaded story with more complex narratives. Working in Word would have been very cumbersome as I wanted to be able to move sections of the narrative around easily.
Enter Scrivener. I’d been recommended it before and used the trial but it seemed overkill to me and, to be fair, it probably would have been for Spyglass. For Emperor though, it seemed ideal.
As you can see from the screenshot above, it allows me to write each character thread in sections that can be moved around at will. It also meant that I could write the entire Willow narrative at once, section by section, and it wouldn’t impact on the final order. This was much easier than writing the first bit of Willow’s narrative, flicking to Ithilmir to write a bit for Snudge etc.
The only concern I had was whether once I’d finished writing the first act (I chose to structure the story in three distinct acts and write each one separately) would I have to move all of my beautifully organised sections out of their folder structure.
After organising all of the sections into the structure that I think works best (for now!) I started to look at how to achieve what I wanted. It turns out, Scrivener has a concept called Collections that you can add written sections to and order as you wish, without changing the underlying structure.
If you’re not using it already, I’d certainly give Scrivener a go!