With my debut romantic suspense novel releasing next week, you can bet I’ve been spending a lot of time in revisions over the last few months. Everyone has their own process for handling edits in Scrivener, but since some of you have asked, here’s mine.
I make all of my changes directly in Scrivener. I prefer to work with two monitors when I’m referring to comments from an editor, beta reader, or proofreader. If you can beg, borrow, or buy a second monitor, I can’t recommend it enough (unless you have a mammoth one already, in which case you can probably just view both windows side by side).
There are three main tools I use when working on revisions: annotations, snapshots, and color-coded labels. (The links will take you to my posts with more detail on using each feature.)
Annotations are a pre-revision tool for me. I use them to make notes to myself about areas that need something (e.g. more research, a conversation I’m not ready to write), usually while I’m writing and don’t know what to put in a specific spot yet. I also use them to make notes where I’m not 100% happy with what I have, but haven’t figured out how to make better (e.g. catchier opening line, better chapter-ending hook, snappier dialogue).
When I’m ready to deal with all of my annotations, I can just go to Edit—>Find—>Find By Formatting and step through them. Or, I handle them as I'm doing a read-through of the manuscript.
Comments work in a similar way. If you prefer to be able to see your notes in the sidebar, and don’t want them embedded within the text, comments might be a better option for you.
Now, before I actually address an annotation—or a note from my beta reader or editor—I (try hard to remember to) take a snapshot of the document I’m about to edit.
A snapshot (Documents—>Snapshot—>Take Snapshot) is a record of the document as it is right now, that gets saved as part of the document’s meta-data. It’s a great way to keep track of different versions of a scene or section without muddying up your binder with versions. I rarely go back to an old version, but I like knowing I can find my original words, if necessary.
If you’re worried about forgetting, you can select all of the documents you expect to work on that day and use the Take Snapshot command to capture all of them. The snapshot for a document is viewable in the Inspector. Just click the camera icon at the bottom.
When I’m in the early revision stages—essentially before sending to my editor—I don’t really bother to keep track of my editing passes, though you certainly can. If you’re very methodical about it, making one pass for emotion, one for setting, and so on, you might want to use my post-editor method for all of your revisions, using additional label values.
Once I have my editor’s comments in hand, I want to make sure I know which documents I’ve finished and which ones still need work. I accomplish this by changing the use of the Label field from POV (what I generally track when I’m writing fiction) to Edit Stage (I didn’t actually rename it or get rid of the POV values, but you could).
Then I create labels that apply to each of the rounds I intend to make. In the case of BLIND FURY, I had three values: one for each of the editorial rounds I went through, as well as one to show that I had completed the proofreader’s fixes.
I always have icon colors turned on (View—>Use Label Color In—>Icons) so I can see the editing status of each chapter and document at a glance.
Working in Full Screen Composition mode
I like to work in Full Screen Composition mode, so to start, I select my first document, enter full screen, and click the Inspector button to view it and moved it to the corner (in Windows it looks more like the standard inspector).
Then it goes something like this:
1. Make edits to the document.
2. Change the label value in the Inspector to show that the document has been edited.
3. Use the Go To button to navigate to the next document I want to edit.
This process means I don’t have to exit full screen composition mode every time I want to label the document and switch to a new one.
Any questions? Want to share your method?
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