NaNoWriMo Preparation with Scrivener Pt. 2: Try These 6 Organizing Tips

Scriv New ProjectScrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

As I wrote last week, I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo and suggested some features of Scrivener to think about using during next month’s writing scramble. But what should you be doing to prepare with Scrivener. Here are some tips to getting started:

1. Go ahead and create your project. If you haven’t created one, just click on File and then on New Project. Choose Fiction on the left and then Novel. Browse to the folder where you are going to save your book project and then give it a name. Why create the project now? Simple. You should use the project to work on your most, if not all, of your preparation. How will you do that? Just read on…

2. Use the Research folder in the binder to create character sketches and add any and all of your other research. Need to visualize your characters or settings? Paste photos of those to your content in your research content. Also, if you need to get started recording ideas for your book, try writing a synopsis in a document container in the Research folder. Also make notes here and when ready…

3. Use the Binder to start creating your chapter folders. Create all your chapters and from the Corkboard name them and even add a few details on the Index Card. Here’s where those notes from the Research folder come in handy. Play around with dragging chapters in different orders to determine the best way to present your book.

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Scrivener Template Folder4. Create Document Templates – using these instructions. Why? You can create lots of documents with the same settings without configuring them again and again – big time-saver when you’re trying to spend time on creative development. Really, document templates are very important to create. Need to know what to include in the configuration? Here’s a post to help.

5. Next, create individual scenes using your document template(s) with document containers in each chapter. Again, you can view these in the Corkboard for each chapter. At this point, examine what you intend with these scenes and assess whether you have them in the correct order within the chapter – or even if they are in the correct chapter. Drag around as necessary.

6. Next, check your book organization with the Outliner. Where’s that? At the top middle of Scrivener you will see three buttons from left to right these are the Editor, Corkboard and Outliner. Click on Outliner and you’ll see all your chapters displayed with notes. You can also view each chapter with Outliner and see those details. I’ll share more about using the Outliner next week.

NanowrimoAt this point, you have the basic, intended structure of your book. I’ve created my project already and begun my synopsis with some ideas on structure. As I continue this development over the next few weeks, I’ll add my chapter structure in the binder. I’ll also use some other features to prepare for NaNoWriMo so I’ll share what those are as we get closer to the start date.

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Are you in NaNoWriMo yet? If so, what are you doing to prepare? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.


IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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  1. Thanks for the helpful post, have done point 1 (!), and am now going to look at the instructions for creating document templates — I think that will be really useful for the training course I’m planning to write in Scrivener.

  2. I signed up, but I’m completely out of my element. Somehow, I ended up in the young writers section, which was embarrassing, finding out that I was in the wrong place when a message popped up that said (in a nutshell) you don’t belong here.

    I did manage to write a synopsis (or sorts).

    A lot of people prepare outlines. I sit at the computer and watch while my fingers type. The characters might or might not end up being my vision of them. So far, that’s all I’ve done to prepare.

    1. Hey, you’re going in the direction to writing. Scrivener’s binder/outliner become your outline. By constructing those folder/scenes you’ll have a creative outline complete with notes.

  3. Reblogged this on From Fan to Pro and commented:
    Fantastic advice by writer P.H. Solomon on preparing for next month’s NaNoWriMo with Scrivener. Right now is a great time to organize your mind and your project so that, when Nov 1st rolls around, you can start the important thing: WRITING!

  4. Excellent notes on preparing with Scrivener. I don’t know how I managed before I started using it. Now is definitely the time to get all the “paperwork” out of the way so that WRITING can begin on November 1st. Now if I could just manage to clean my house… (reblogged on “From Fan to Pro”)

  5. How do you upload the doc to Nano to do the word count? and do you bother to scramble the words before you post it (I can’t recall what the process is that replaces all the letters with an a)

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