I’ve lost track of all the courses, classes and workshops I’ve taken since I started my writing journey years ago. Besides studying characterization and story structure and any number of other elements of a story, I’ve learned various systems for keeping up with information. I took a class once that taught how to keep copious detail about story people in multiple 3-ring binders. For me, that turned out to be mostly a mess. I was so busy gathering and sorting information I had no time to write the story.
The most profound thing I’ve learned from all of this learning is that I can never learn enough. Consequently, I’m starting a class to learn how to use Scrivener.
Scrivener is writing software that’s supposed to improve the organizing of what you write. Everyone I know who has mastered Scrivener thinks it’s the answer to the organization and flow of information through a story. I bought the program believing I could teach myself. Boy, was I wrong. So now I need a class. The woman teaching the class is the author who wrote “Scrivener for Dummies.” Appropriate, huh?
Organizing storytelling information has been a challenge for me forever. A manuscript of 100,000 words has a lot of information to keep up with. In one story, there might be two-dozen speaking characters, for example, playing only minor roles in the story, but not giving any one of them critical attention would be a mistake.
You can’t have the heroine’s aunt be blue-eyed on page 36 and green-eyed on page 150. I’ve read books that made it to print with this type of flaw. And for some reason, in spite of all the other details a writer might put into a story, despite beautiful prose, a mistake like that one jumps right off the page at a reader. Scrivener is not going to help me keep up with all of those details, but hopefully, if I’m better organized, I’ll be able to find them easier and discover a flaw if there is one.
Over time, I’ve devised all kinds of “systems” and record-keeping methods to help me keep it all straight. Most of them work to a degree, but none of them are great. Lately, I’m using a clumsy system I’ve created in Microsoft Excel. Fingers crossed that Scrivener will be better. If it isn’t, and if I have to go back to Excel, I’m going to be extremely disappointed.
This is particularly important to me right now as I’m writing a romance trilogy that’s a family saga, with a sub-story arc that carries through 3 books.facts in Books #2 and #3 correlate to Book #1. Hopefully, by the time I’ve finished my Scrivener class, I’ll be able to pull that off a little more easily than I’m managing now.
Oh, and by the way.....HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY.