My apologies for the boring title. For those of you who don’t write fiction, my even greater apologies for the upcoming post.
Although multi-tasking is not my preference, I found the perfect ménage à trois for outlining my new work-in-progress.
By coincidence, I started reading Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling by Larry Brooks at the same time I started Gwen Hernandez’s Scrivener course at the same time I started my new novel’s outline.
Like literary Legos, these three elements locked nicely into place.
1. Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling
This book is the follow-up to Larry Brook’s Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing. Both books click beautifully with my left-brain tendencies.
In Story Engineering, Brook focused on structure while in Story Physics he focuses on ways to enhance this fictional architecture.
The timing is perfect because I’m presently expanding my manuscript’s main plot points into a bulleted beat sheet (essentially a blueprint for the outline). Brooks’s story “physics” will help give my structural elements some extra pizzazz which will hopefully keep readers flipping the pages.
2. Scrivener Training by Gwen Hernandez
For those who don’t know, Scrivener is a low-priced software program that enhances the organization of written projects, both fiction and non-fiction. It’s a great way to localize all your manuscript needs, including research, images, outlines, character descriptions, scenes, etc.
Scrivener comes with an instructional tutorial, but even though I reviewed it and wrote my most recent novel using the program, I knew I was missing out on features. There was so much more I could be doing with the software. Thanks to fellow blogger and writer S.K. Nicholls, I learned about Gwen Hernandez’s Scrivener course. At $45 for a four-week course, the price was right, and the daily lesson is easily doable in thirty minutes or less.
I’m ten sessions into the course, and although I’ve created a new project to follow along with Ms. Hernandez’s instruction, I’m also trying things out in my work-in-progress’s file.
3. My Outline
The third piece of this literary trifecta is my outline itself. Yes, I’m a plotter, no mystery there. I like to know exactly how my story will unfold, what needs to go where, and when it needs to happen (though that doesn’t mean I can’t make changes).
For me that takes research and planning. In fact, it’s my longest writing phase—about six months. After that, I need three months to complete the first draft and another three to complete the edits. At least that was the schedule for my second novel, and I hope to keep the same pace.
Plotting doesn’t float every writer’s boat, and that’s okay. But stringing my outline together while simultaneously reading Brook’s book and taking Ms. Hernandez’s class makes me hyper-aware of the elements that will improve my story. In other words, since the advice is fresh in my mind, it gets actively incorporated into my work.
For once, the stars are aligned…
Any software or books that make your life easier, writing-related or otherwise? Do you use Scrivener?
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