Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Paper Piles

After several drafts and many rounds of revisions, my YA novel is a polished document stored on my desktop and a few other places. As I step back and look around, it’s obvious that I need to do something about all of this paper. I want a different approach to organization with my next novel.

So I treated myself to a new writing tool—one I’m hoping will help get some of the paper organized into one tidy place on my computer. Yes, I finally got Scrivener and I’m excited to start learning how to use it. The corkboard feature sounds especially helpful for organizing scenes. I’m hoping Scrivener is the answer to my very organized paper mess.

I know that I won’t eliminate the use of paper altogether, but I’d like to reduce the amount of it I use.  Looking around my office, I’m noticing six types of paper I use often. Each type serves a unique purpose.

I use notebooks for plotting, the pre-writing of scenes, ideas for alternate scenes, the brainstorming of names and places, doodling and daydreaming about characters. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up my beloved notebooks.

I turn to cue cards to create plot walls. Scrivener’s corkboard feature can definitely help with this.

When I’m typing away, I so often reach for notes to jot down a reminder about a character or an event so that I can go back and make sure I’ve been consistent with changes I’ve made. I reach for the notes to write down words, images, or scenes that I want to see in a future chapter while I’m already hard at work on a current chapter. These notes pile up and I can imagine that there must be a better way of managing them. Scrivener?

When I break from the computer to go get a tea in the kitchen, I’ll often think of a better way to word something, or come up with solution to a problem. I always end up grabbing paper towels or mail envelopes to scribble on and those pile up with the notes back up in the office. Maybe I can work out a system to type up written notes and store them in Scrivener as well.

Computer paper takes up the most space in my office. I can’t imagine editing without a hard copy of my work at every stage of the game but I’d like to keep critiques sent via email from writing partners in my computer to cut down on printing.

I will share what I learn about Scrivener in future posts. If you use it, I’d love to hear about it. I know I’ll still reach for sticky notes and paper towels and I'll definitely scribble out ideas in a notebook, but I’m hoping that Scrivener will de-clutter at least some of these piles of paper.