Considering this is my first NaNoWriMo, don't you think I should have stuck to my "tried and true" methods and left new software tryouts for after November? Um, yes. Did I do that? Um, no. And why not? Because …. Because…. Because I fell beneath Scrivener's temptation spell and had to try it out. Was that a good or bad? Potentially, very bad, but as of yesterday (2 week point) I clocked in at 40,700 words, which is the 81% mark for a 50K novel. Not bad. I expect this novel to come in at a little over 75K, so my web sites are all reporting me at 54%, and I still have 2 weeks left.
Has Scrivener helped me? In some ways, yes. Definitely. However, because of the learning curve, I have to do a lot more "playing" with the Word file I compile everyday as a back-up than I'd probably have to do if I'd been using the software for a while. Yes, I did take the tutorial first, which I recommend to anyone who is thinking of using the program. However, like most authors, I have a few personal quirks that the tutorial didn't cover. Not the program's fault by any means, but it still requires me to do some jerry-rigging until I can get the manuscript over into Word looking the way I want.
So, what did I find I could do in Scrivener that I couldn't do in Word? Lots. Its basic structure is set up to make a writer's job easier. I normally work on a scene-by-scene basis, dividing the work into chapters as I go along, or later in the process, and Scrivener is set up to work that way. In addition, it provides me with an easy way to group my scenes and import any research I'd like to access quickly for reference.
For example, as I'm writing, I can determine if a scene is going to need a lot more work before I can even consider it a "first draft." Once I determine that, I simply mark its status as "To Do." Then I can search for all the scenes that have a "To Do" status and save my search as a collection. That means as I continue to give that status to more scenes, my collection grows automatically. Then, I can go through my collection of "To Do" scenes and work on them at my leisure without ever moving them from their original place in my binder, or manuscript. Once I change the scene's status from "To Do" to "First Draft" the link to the scene is instantly removed from my collection of "To Do" scenes needing more work. Nifty, huh?
In the synopsis, or notecard, that comes with each scene, I begin by stating which is my POV character for the scene. Then I created a search for each POV character and saved the search as a collection so I can see at a glance if one character is getting more scenes than the other is. At this moment, my heroine is getting the lion's share of scenes. I may want to change that later, but for the time being, I'm okay with that.
In any case, I'm pleased I had an opportunity to try out the software, and NaNoWriMo definitely gives it a rigorous tryout. I don't recommend anyone wait as long to do what I did, but I do recommend the software. That said, I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog hopping while I go back to Nanoing.
P.S. Scrivener has a special NaNoWriMo offer if you're feeling adventurous...