Are you trying out Scrivener for NaNoWriMo this year? Or maybe you’ve been using it for a while, but aren’t sure how to make the best use of it for this one-month sprint. I hope these tips (and links to how to implement them) will help you meet your 50K goal.
- Set targets: Set up your 50K target with a November 30 deadline, and choose the days of the week you plan to write. Scrivener will calculate how much you need to write each day to stay on track, and adjust as you add words.
- Keep a change log: I’ve mentioned several times that I shoot for no-edit writing during NaNo by utilizing a change log. How?
- Add a text document to your Research folder—or create a new folder, maybe one called Ideas with the light bulb icon (right-click to change icon)—and call it Change Log.
- Every time you think of something you need to go back and fix, add it to the document and get back to writing as if you already made the change. You can edit later, but if you change your mind again, it’s a lot easier to edit the log than the manuscript.
- Annotate: How many times have you been writing along and realized you don’t know the name, speed, value, location, or color of something? Or maybe you can’t decide on the character’s name or type of car. Mark it, skip it, and get back to writing with these options.
- Use an annotation or comment to make a note in the manuscript.
- Don’t like annotations/comments? Mark the spot in your script with a character combo that won’t show up in any normal word (I use ZZZ), and move on. Some people like to differentiate, for example ZZR for research and ZZE for areas that need more work.
- You can easily search for the marked up spots later.
- Idea Log/Outline: Got a great idea for something coming later in the story? Create one or both of these files and store them with your Change Log.
- Jot down notes for upcoming scenes in an Idea Log.
- Create an outline that you can fill in as ideas come to you. This will be great for keeping you on track when you’re not sure what to write next.
- Unused Scenes: Writing a scene but don’t know where to put it? Have an old scene that doesn’t belong, but you don’t want to delete it (I never delete anything)? Create an Unused Scenes folder and store the scenes for later.
- Whatever else you need: You can keep your research materials, photos, character sketches/GMC, prewriting, and anything else that helps you, right inside your Scrivener project. I’ve just scratched the surface here, but hopefully this will get you started.
Even if you don’t make 50K, if you’ve added words, you’re still a winner where it counts.