I think a common question among us first-time-novelists is something like, “How do I transform this mound of sludge into a novel?” In other words, how do we edit?
Personally, I hadn’t researched editing methods for moving from the first draft to the second, because I figured there is more than one way to do it. Just as one author creates detailed outlines while another flies by the seat of their pants, the editing method also varies. Instead of following any particular “how-to” method, I just dug my heels in and started from the beginning. When I “won” NaNoWriMo, my novel was incomplete. It was missing entire chapters all over the place. In fact, in my second draft, my old chapter 4 became chapter 1, and chapter 4 is now chapter 6. Confused?
Well, recently a blog was posted on the NaNoWriMo site about how to get to the second draft by using split screens. I took a little look-see and low and behold, that is the very method I had been using! It felt like a positive affirmation. What the blog didn’t mention was Scrivener. This is the software I have been using. I also have experience in Pressbooks, but I am having a love affair with Scrivener. (Pssst… if you win NaNoWriMo, Scrivener might just give you a stellar discount…)
Scrivener is this awesome software that allows you to compile a multitude of writing projects from screenplays to manuscripts, in .epub, .mobi (Kindle), .pdf, .word, etc. It allows you to click and drag chapters around, and see them on a virtual cork board in summary form. But what’s REALLY awesome, is that you can save your research there. Videos, websites, etc., all archived with no need for internet connection to access them again. Bravo! While it definitely takes some getting used to (I wanted to step on my laptop at first), now I won’t novel without it.
I do need to mention that I didn’t start my novel in Scrivener… I imported it, but there was this handy tool that allowed me to “split” the document into scenes (or chapters), by just putting my mouse where I wanted to split it and clicking a button. If I hadn’t done this, I don’t think I would have finished NaNoWriMo (they had a free trial version available)…. it allowed me to pick and choose the chapters that were interesting to me so that I could focus rather than stare at the screen in confusion of “where do I go from here?” You can also insert new chapters and drag them to new places if you don’t think they fit where you originally intended. Awesome.
So that’s how I’m doing it. 🙂
For more info on why Scrivener is awesome, and how to use it, click on this photo: