You finally take a few days off from work to have some fun with your spouse and kids, but when you encounter your superhero nemesis during a family trip to the park they (the hero) insist, that you continue your fight from the days before.
They’re not aware that you have loved ones who know of and accept your… unusual occupation.
How do you resolve the situation without having to fight or exposing your loved ones to the kind of hero who’d do “anything to ensure justice”, even if it meant using people as leverage against you?
You say the ghost’s name three times in the mirror. The lights go out. A terrible face appears in the glass. It looks at you. It smiles, shocked. “Oh my god! Hey! I haven’t seen you since high school! How’s it going?”
1. Navigation. You can see all your chapters, scenes, character & setting planning at one glance and switch between them very easily – compared to scrolling up and down in one long word processing document. Every file can also be a folder, so you can have collapsible items underneath it.
2. Word count targets. The “Project Targets” are particularly useful for NaNoWriMo so you don’t have to keep looking back at the website to see how you’re doing for the day, but more so outside of it, when you want to keep yourself working to a target but don’t have Nano’s charts and daily word counts. It also gives you a nice ding when you hit your session target.
3. How many pages? I only recently discovered this, but it’s very nice to be able to see in Project Statistics approximately how big your manuscript would be in pages without worrying about formatting.
4. Outlining. Scrivener has two methods of outlining – one is Corkboard, which is exactly what it sounds like, a digital corkboard with notes pinned on it that represent your chapters/scenes with their summaries. The screenshot above is called ‘outliner’ and lists collapsible chapters/scenes with various statistics you can select as shown in the tick menu. Generally I prefer Corkboard, but Outliner is useful if you just want to see everything in a clear order.
5. Full screen. I get distracted very easily when writing, so the full-screen writing mode is wonderful for me to avoid that – but you can still choose certain windows from the normal Scrivener view to show up. I have my targets and my summary, so I can stick to my plan when I’m writing and also see what progress I’m making.
6. Notes. No screenshot, but it’s a simple post-it note style box to the side of every document (chapter, scene, character etc.) that allows you to add notes. This may sound very simple, but it’s far more useful than I’d expected. During NaNoWriMo when I’m not meant to be editing at all, but I know something needs fixing, I will jot down something in the side like ‘Take out the horse’ so that when I go through again to edit I know exactly the things to focus on immediately but which would have taken too much time before. It’s linked to the scene so I don’t just have a pile of notes in one document at the end and then have to work out where it needs fixing.
I downloaded Scrivener for the first time two years ago, and now I can’t imagine working without it. It’s so nice to have the planning and the writing all combined into one place where I can easily switch between the two. I haven’t yet got as far in a novel created in Scrivener to use the compile features so I can’t comment on those, but so far all my experiences of it have been good.
One thing to note is that if transferring project between a Windows and a Mac version of Scrivener, it’s generally best to zip the file first.
[Screenshots from my current novel Kindling Ashes using the Mac version of Scrivener – some features may not be available in Windows yet.]
I use Scrivener religiously. Well worth the money I spent on it, honestly. My drafting and planning style was basically unadulterated chaos before this program.
I’ve used Scrivener for years now, and can’t imagine using any other word processor for fiction writing ever again.
November is coming. To get ready, we’re taking a road trip to visit Wrimos from around the world, and hear about how their regions can inspire your writing. Today, Christchurch, New Zealand Municipal LiaisonsJudy L. Mohr and Emmy-Lou James talk about their region’s history of write-ins and face-to-face interaction:
Christchurch, New Zealand has a strong writing community, with a long writing legacy to help back us up. But part of the reason that we are so strong is that everywhere you go, there are write-ins and discussion groups for writers.
Writing is a solitary activity for the majority of people. Many of us write in complete isolation, cut off from the real world around us, sinking our entire existence into our make-believe worlds. And to get the writing done, we tend to sacrifice our socializing times. As much as writing is solitary, we can’t do it alone. This is where write-ins come into their own—particularly during NaNoWriMo.
So, what are the benefits?
1. Write-ins are where you can meet other writers.
Sometimes, the issue with meeting like-minded people is the struggle of where to look. The solution is not always obvious.
For us, the MLs of Christchurch, we both started by joining a local writing group. Then suddenly we found another… and another… and another. Once we discovered the community, all the groups were suddenly there for us to connect with. Sure, each group might be milled with writers who write different genres, and many of us will be at different stages of our own writing journey’s, but that’s what makes these groups so magical.
During NaNoWriMo, many regions hold multiple write-ins. In Christchurch, we aim to hold multiple write-ins during the week. Writers need to connect with other writers, and write-ins are the perfect place to make those connections.
2. Write-ins give you the opportunity to learn from other writers.
Write-ins are often filled with writers from every neck of the woods, each with their own knowledge and experiences. In connecting with other local writers, you are given the chance to learn. Whether it is about the writing craft, editing, editors, querying, writing synopses, or where the best writing conferences are held, the lists are endless.
And don’t think that just because you might be new to writing that you don’t have knowledge to share. Perhaps you’re a whiz on the computer, able to code up a stunning spreadsheet to help keep track of word counts. Or maybe you know something about taking a stunning photo with your cellphone camera. Or maybe you know your way around social media, and are able to help another understand what a hashtag.
Whatever your skills, your knowledge will be valued by the writing community.
3. Accountability partners come in all forms.
How often do you write a chapter, put it down, then come back to it the next day and think, I’ll read it before I carry on today, only to find yourself spending a day editing rather than writing? Are you guilty of it? Because I know we are!
Write-ins are the perfect place to find accountability partners—that one person who will become your personal Jiminy Cricket, the angel on your shoulder who’s your cheerleader, urging you on even when the inner critic and self-doubting monster are chewing at your ear. An accountability partner is a writer who knows the pitfalls of writing and can talk you through the hard times in just the same way, you can talk them.
Because you’ve been there—together.
4. Participating in activities can help you work past writer’s block and other writing issues.
Meeting at local write-ins can give the opportunity to have open conversations about problems with writing. It could be writer’s block or a plot issue. Perhaps a character isn’t working.
The simple ability to be able to tease out your ideas can lead to the best stories.
5. It is important to be able to share your achievements and celebrate with others.
How do you celebrate your achievements? A glass of wine? An evening with a book and no interruptions? Do you take a night off and binge watch that Netflix series you’ve been holding off on?
So many of us forget to celebrate the little wins, overlooking our achievements.
By sharing your NaNoWriMo journey with other writers, you get to celebrate those achievements together. It might be simply hitting that word count, finishing a section of the book that you’ve been working on, or finishing that manuscript. Whatever it is, celebrating together with other writers is fun, and encourages other writers following the same journey as you to continue on too.
6. Sometimes, it’s good to change things up.
Writing in the same place day in day out can get kinda dull, and sometimes becomes a block for creativity. Write-ins during NaNoWriMo should be in public spaces, and that in itself can be the best writing fodder. By taking yourself away from your desk, or the four walls that you call home, you’re putting yourself in a different space, and that can prove invaluable for many writers.
And people watching is important for writers too.
Attend a Write-In this NaNoWriMo!
If you’ve never attended a write-in, why not make it your NaNoWriMo goal this year? Find out where your local write-ins are, or look into hosting your own. Writer friends are worth their weight in gold, so why miss out?
The MLs for Christchurch, New Zealand are Judy L Mohr (above) and Emmy-Lou James (below).
Judy L Mohr is a writer of thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, and nonfiction. She is also a freelance editor with Black Wolf Editorial Services (https://blackwolfeditorial.com), working on projects from writers around the world.
Emmy-Lou James loves anything romance. So much so, she writes contemporary romance stories based in small towns with holiday themes.
Together, they’re one hell of a ML team, coordinating various writing events throughout their region all year round.
Speak to the stars at night, they will not welcome a stranger.
Make sure you own something gold.
If you do not own anything gold and cannot buy something, draw a star on your left cheek with a marker and wear it for a full day. Ignore the stares.
The stars will understand and in a week, a golden pin will appear on your pillow.
At night, go and sit in the middle of a field, any field will work, and wait in silence for ten minutes.
Do not stand up or leave.
Search your soul, a name will appear, not one you know or one you will remember, but say it anyway, the stars will hear.
You should be wearing your pin.
If you are, the stars will come down and dance with you, if you aren’t, they will stay there, twinkling in the sky.
Dance until dawn, marvel at the colours that swim around you, and the brightness of the very universe. Your energy will not fade, so do not worry about the time ahead of you, only think about that moment.
Once a month, on the same day, meet with the stars again, you shall learn about each other, and when you are ready, tell them that you would like to live as one of them.
They will ask you if you are sure, and do not be afraid to answer no, the stars understand, they will still meet you again next month.
If you answer yes, they will disappear, and you shall awake at dawn in your bed, having had a good nights sleep.
Your day will proceed as normal, and you will almost be convinced that the night before was a dream, but do not forget.
That night, your dreams will be filled with the ones whom love you, the ones whom you love, your good memories, reasons to stay, and you will doubt your decision.
Do not worry, the stars are kind, it is their intention.
You shall meet up the next month, and tell them that you have changed your mind. They will nod, and float back into the sky, burning millions of miles away.
Time will pass, and you will miss them. They will miss you too.
You may be disappointed, you may believe that you do not live within the stars, and that is true. But do not mourn. For they live within you, the very stardust the flows within your veins.
Whenever you are lonely, search your soul, a name will appear, not one you know or one you will remember, but say it anyway, the stars will hear. And they will listen.