Trying to get over this disgusting cold I’ve acquired.  Today I’ve researched how best to use Scrivener (pro writing tool – across a series, such as my Scott Cullen one.  It’s a great product, allowing you to outline and structure your work in a way that a linear tool like Word just can’t (imagine the document map in Word is a looking glass into Wonderland, and Wonderland is full of outlining tools and so on and you’re there).  The downside is that it’s possibly too flexible.
I used to use MS Office to write – Word, obviously, but also using Excel to plug the outlining gaps.  Most of the reason I used Excel for is that I’m a trained spreadsheet monkey at work and, even though I’m a Programme Manager now, I do my staff’s collective heads in by insisting on using Excel to catalogue things, rather than Word tables (which are just shite).  It’s a very flexible programme – possibly too flexible.  Oh.
My main bugbear since moving to the Mac a few weeks ago has been the shoddiness of the spreadsheets in OSX.  I’m not prepared to pay £80-130 for MS Office when most of my work will be done in Scrivener and I doubt I’ll actually use Word (outputting to Kindle files from Scrivener is bloody good, much less frustrating than the tear-soaked nights in April trying to format my manuscript).  I’ve tried Apple’s Numbers (part of iWork) but it’s feature-poor (no pivot tables – eh?).  I’ve tried the Open source ones – OpenOffice and its forks LibreOffice and NeoOffice – which are just clunky and unusable.
So, my solution is to try and get everything inside Scrivener as much as possible.  And it turns out that best practice is having all your books in a series in one project.  It doesn’t seem to kill performance, either.  So far, I’ve got GHOST, WHISKY and the rough outline for ALL IN A NAME in there together.  I’ll have to put DEVIL in, too.  It will hopefully help significantly when I’m writing DYED IN THE WOOL – questions such as “does McNeill have a brother or was it her friend’s brother’s floor they stayed on?” can be answered a lot more easily (it was her mate’s brother).  I need to consolidate the notes from the various spreadsheets and tag the files, etc, but it will really help for future projects.  It would have really helped for WHISKY and DEVIL.
Note – I have no affiliations with Literature and Latte, I’m just falling in love with their product.
So, I’ve got WHISKY off to the alpha readers now, time to focus a lot of attention on DYED IN THE WOOL (does that need a new title?), housekeeping and bothering to do the DEVIL IN THE DETAIL paperback.
— Ed

4 Responses

  1. I’m mad for Scrivener too. I’m using it to write a trilogy (all 3 books in one project file) and, as you say, it’s perfect for having character and setting details so easily accessible in one program. Happy Scrivening!

    1. There’s a school of thought that says that writing series is easier than writing standalone. I think it’s probably true for the first two, but once you get past that you’re in a world of continuity errors. There will be people who read all of your books back-to-back and they will spot the things you didn’t…
      Having it all in one place is brilliant.
      — Ed

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