Saturday, 10 February 2018

My Writing Process - The First Round of Edits

Let me begin by emphasising that 


If you are looking to familiarise yourself with the ins-and-outs of Scrivener and learn about all the handy-dandy features of the software


There are TONS of fantastic tutorials on YouTube to show you how to get to grips with Scrivener...but this post is all about how I use it for editing my novel. If that sounds interesting to you then by all means come in, pull up a chair, I'll make some tea. 

Milk? Sugar? 


Now that we have THAT established...let's move on.

So as I've mentioned many times on this blog - I use the Scrivener software for writing. If you don't know what that is...let the good people who make it tell you more...

'Scrivener is the go-to app for writers of all kinds, used every day by best-selling novelists, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, students, academics, lawyers, journalists, translators and more. Scrivener won't tell you how to write—it simply provides everything you need to start writing and keep writing.

Tailor-made for long writing projects, Scrivener banishes page fright by allowing you to compose your text in any order, in sections as large or small as you like. Got a great idea but don't know where it fits? Write when inspiration strikes and find its place later. Grow your manuscript organically, idea by idea.

Whether you plan or plunge, Scrivener works your way: hammer out every last detail before typing a word, or carve out a draft and restructure later. Or mix your methods and do a bit of both. In Scrivener, everything you write is integrated into an easy-to-use project outline. So working with an overview of your manuscript is only ever a click away, and turning Chapter Four into Chapter One is as simple as drag and drop.

Need to refer to research? In Scrivener, your background material is always at hand, and you can open it right next to your work. Write a description based on a photograph. Transcribe an interview. Take notes about a PDF file or web page. Or check for consistency by referencing an earlier chapter alongside the one in progress.

Once you're ready to share your work with the world, compile everything into a single document for printing, self-publishing, or exporting to popular formats such as Word, PDF, Final Draft or plain text. You can even share using different formatting, so that you can write in your favorite font and still satisfy those submission guidelines.'

Sounds amazing, right? That's because it is! If you are a writer, and are:

a) serious about working hard on your manuscript
b) are willing to invest in something that makes your life easier
c) need to keep all of your ramblings in one organised place

Then Scrivener is for you! You can get it HERE - and while you do have to pay for the software I promise you it's worth it if you learn how to use it and do so consistently. 

I would be LOST without Scrivener

Now...that being said...I did NOT plan, outline or write my original first draft of Prince of Blades on Scrivener. There's no exact reason why fact there are lots of reasons why Scrivener is PERFECT for outlining your novel again watch the tutorials...but I did a lot of the planning stage free-hand on paper and that worked fine for me. 

 I wrote the first draft in Microsoft Word - all in one big long document that took longer and longer to fully load each time I opened it - and transferred it over to Scrivener when I was finished. 

Was that more hassle? Yes
Did I care? No

But next time I may draft the entire thing in Scrivener, who knows? Just do what feels right for you at the time and be happy! 

When I transferred the document over to Scrivener, I split it into individual chapters as you can see at the left side of the picture above. Then I wrote a few words on each of the note-cards in the corkboard that allowed me to see what each chapter was about at a glance. 

Next I colour-coded the chapters based on who's POV it was in so I could get a visual representation of how that looked and see if there were any places where one character had a little too much page time. 

Ignore the fact that it has 'REVISED DRAFT' stamped across each card...that's just how it looks now. At the start of the editing round it would say 'FIRST DRAFT' and I changed it as and when I revised each chapter. The same goes for the little tick icon in the corner - again changed when edits on that chapter were complete. 

So that's the basic set up. The manuscript is all transferred...everything is organised and colour-coded the way my Type A brain likes we're ready to go! 

NOTE: Of course you can do all this from the start or as you go along if you originally draft in Scrivener...making life easier for yourself in the process. Like I said - this is just how I did it this time. 

Getting into the document itself...this is where we begin the edits.

The example picture above shows the roughly-edited beginning of my prologue - which already doesn't look like that after the next round of edits I'm currently doing - to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. 

When you open one of your text files on Scrivener - in this case one of my chapters - the body of text appears in the centre panel of the screen and you can adjust all of the surrounding panels to your preferred visibility...I liked them like this so I can see everything I need to see. 

On the right-hand side you have DOCUMENT NOTES...and this is where I put all of my thoughts and ideas as I initially read through the chapter again. 

I don't actually change the text at all at this point!

This is very important.

Let me tell you why...

I take breaks between each round of drafting and revisions so that I can look at my work with a fresh pair of eyes each time. This means I don't remember every exact thing I wrote...and if I go making changes before I've read through the manuscript...I could be doing more damage than good. I could make a note that I want a character's hair colour to be mentioned in this scene...add it in...only to see that I've already described it in the next paragraph. 

Ya see why that could be a problem? 

So I read through the text, making notes in the sidebar for anything I want to change. These could be setting notes, character notes, plot changes - even entire lines or passages that I think of on the spot and know I want to add in later, but my main goal with this first round of edits was to focus on structural stuff. I had made some pretty big changes in terms of plot, character and overall structure of the story during the first draft and I need to switch a lot of things around, delete some scenes, add some order to make it all make sense and flow properly. 

After I had read through the manuscript and made all of the notes I wanted to, I went BACK TO THE START and applied all of the notes into the actual text. I worked chapter by chapter - which is one of the most attractive features of Scrivener in my opinion. By splitting your work into individual little sections it becomes WAY less daunting and you can take it one step at a time. 

It took me a long time to fully complete the first round of edits, and there was a big chunk of time where I didn't work on Prince of Blades at all for one reason or another. But I finally finished right at the end of January and have already jumped straight into the next round. 

Have I mentioned that a thousand times yet? 


Overall word count after second draft: 91,037 
Overall page count: 413 

So that is how I went about the first round of edits on my manuscript using Scrivener. Hopefully this was helpful to someone anyone? I'm currently halfway through the next stage of edits (on paper) and blasting through it so I will put up another post soon talking all about how I'm doing that. 

What are you currently working on? 
Do you use Scrivener or different software? 
How do you go about editing? 

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