Okay, remember in my last post where I was gushing about the benefits of Scrivener?

In that post, remember where I remarked that I should ‘always remember the value of playing’?

Right. Well, no sooner when I started back on my current project, then something happened that I caused, and if I were the person I was… like… I dunno… five years ago? That’s about right. Something happened where, if I were the same person I was five years ago, I probably would have handled it in the same patient and thoughtful way that Kylo Ren would when someone took the last Pepsi.


I didn’t like the way my binder was set up. The area where I was going to write my draft was fine. It was the brand new, undiscovered territory I carved out for myself by way of storyboarding.

I have this notion. I am determined that I will be a Planner and leave my chequered Pantser past behind me. I. Will. Be. Organized.

So, it started with a basic outline. Just like the other projects I have going. I start with an outline, try my best to keep it brief, plan it out in a linear fashion, finish it, and then completely disregard its existence for the rest of the project. It’s the equivalent of deciding to get a treadmill because you want to lose weight, and then turning it to a clothes hanger a month later. I make an effort to at least put up the illusion of trying to be better. But, inasmuch as I’d like to think otherwise, outlines are just frickin’ boring!

Then I thought of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, and how they went about planning Shaun of the Dead. It was one of the extras on the DVD. It was a bit where they were flanking this giant flipboard, and glossing over their scribbly shorthand of the plot of the movie. Now, whether it was done with tongue planted firmly in cheek, whether they were spoofing themselves or not, it didn’t matter. The flipboard was an effective idea. At least for me. There’s something about using a space big enough to throw everything into and see what worked and what didn’t. So with that in mind, I thought storyboarding would be a much better approach.

Remember when I said my organizational skills were weak to begin with?

I had a vague idea on how to storyboard in Scrivener. I knew it involved folders…and rearranging…and…stuff…Anyway, my first attempt at it was practically unusable. It was a grade school paper maché representation of what I think a storyboard is. I had I good amount of notes and thoughts written down, but I didn’t arrange it the way I wanted to begin with, and so I set forth to copy, paste and rearrange.

Long story short, I accidently deleted two days worth of notes.

No no…that’s fine… you needed that Pepsi more than I did…” ZZZORP! ZZAP! SLASH!

It would be a situation where, if I were not used to setbacks the way I am now, I would set my computer on fire. The only thing that was keeping me in check was as I was making these notes, new ideas kept jumping in and placing themselves in the story. So, it was  a lot of:

Okay. This happened, this happened, then this happened. Oh but wait, what if this happened. So, I’d have to go back and do this…

Since the process was ever evolving, and the confusing way I set up the storyboard might had turned out to be double-knotted shoelaces on a child’s pair of Keds, it was probably for the best if just nuked the whole thing and started over. The ideas and the plot were still in my head, and I haven’t made it too far yet, it would only be a matter of minutes to reconstruct. Which I did.

Now, I’ve got the hang of it.


Before this, the version that got erased,  I already made things difficult for myself. I blame being organized for it.

In order for me to harness, to wrangle, to make sense, to make more efficient the process of writing, the appeal of starting with a bare bones structure started to make more sense. I went with a basic 3 Act Structure; meat and potatoes, nothing fancy.

Out of the dozens of ways I could format it, I went with the ever reliable Tree chart.

3 Act Structure

I took the lead from NaNoWriMo veteran, Katytastic, and arranged her method in a way that makes the most sense to me.

Even before I began, I was setting myself up to fail. I was using a 3 Act Structure for a 4 Act story. On top of that, I have somehow convinced myself that this will be a short story.  Add to this the frustration of trying to get something to work the way you want it to, but you’re explaining yourself the wrong way, it was going to take more time to rearrange than to just start over again. Which I did. Because remember: It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity.

So, let’s go over what we’ve learned. Keep in mind, I still attest that there is no wrong way to use Scrivener. For the sake of my own sanity, and just to see if I can do it, I’m sticking with the 3 Act structure for now.

What Didn’t Work?

Set Up, Conflict, Resolution. Beginning, Middle, End. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. I regarded everything in the green boxes as chapters, and everything in the red circles as scenes. Chapters were my notecards, scenes were… well, more notecards, but they weren’t connected or nested into anything else. My goal is to write my scene on a split screen with the notes taking up the other half. The way I originally set it up, wasn’t really friendly to the way I was doing it.

Most authors who use Scrivener prefer to utilize the corkboard view for the simple reason of labelling the cards to reflect different stages of completion until it’s finished. That’s what I wanted to do. Instead, I crammed the three corresponding points (red circles) into a document and shoved it under one card. I had no idea how to rework it, until I accidentally deleted it.

What Did Work?

Every so often, when things get a little too confusing and difficult, I find that a good ol’ Tabula Rasa is the best solution. desk_flip

Starting over, I learned how to put subfolders into main folders.Then it was easier to make the cards I needed. A brief synopsis for every chapter, finer details on corresponding sheets to be used in conjunction with the draft, and then once completed, change the card from “To Do” to “First Draft” to “Second Draft” and so on.

Butbutbut…what about the 4th Act?” I hear you say. Denouement, is my answer.

This was supposed to be a quick post,so I didn’t bother taking detailed screen shots this time. For a better explanation of what this whole post is about, here’s a video directly from the creator of Scrivener.

So in conclusion, what could have been a total disaster turned out to be my Eureka Moment. I’m sure more obstacles will come across my path soon enough, and I’ll do my best to report them as they do. As well as, of course, publish more snippets.

Talk to you soon…


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