So, everyone is different. I’m not talking in just looks, but in every way imaginable. Including how we think. And if you’re a writer, you know what I’m talking about. We’re a different breed than the “normals” (the non-writers) and we don’t have cookie-cutter brains. But that doesn’t’ matter. When it comes to writing, it’s important to find what works for us as individuals and use that method to write. Keeping that in mind, I’ve decided to share something that I’ve found works for me when it comes to keeping up with the details in my manuscript.
Starting a new series is always a hard one for me. Right now, I’m writing four books in a series so, by the time I get to that fourth book, I know my characters, I know my setting, and most of the time, I know my plot. But since I’m not a detailed plotter (I fall more along the lines of a “plantser”—meaning I plot a little and write by the seat of my pants most of the time) details fall through the cracks. Threads are left hanging and I have to constantly read and re-read to make sure I addressed everything before submitting to my editor. And while there’s nothing wrong with this method (it works perfectly well for some people), I’m finding that the older I get, the more my brain struggles to work. Ha. As a result, I’ve gone from strictly “pantsing” to more plotting. And now that I’m writing more books in a series, it’s important for me to know how things are going to progress as I write the stories. I don’t have to know every single little detail, but I need to know more than a pantser knows!
So, I have this handy dandy writing software called Scrivener. I’ve had it on my computer for several years, but only recently started using it on a regular basis. Sure, there’s a learning curve in the beginning just like there is with anything you’ve never done or used before, but I have to say that if you can survive your initial frustration, it will turn out to be the best thing EVER in your writing world. And once you learn the basics, you’ll never go back to writing in any other software. Okay, that’s an opinion, but I’m not the only one who thinks so! LOL.
Wait a minute, you say, this article is supposed to be about starting a new series, not a writing software. Well, yes, but here’s what I’ve found. Scrivener makes starting a new series so easy. It keeps everything organized and in one place. There are no notecards, little pieces of napkins, pictures of celebrities cut out from magazines or printed from the internet, and there’s no losing your work. Seriously. It all automatically backs up as you work. So, when I started writing the Blue Justice series, I decided this would be a really good time to put Scrivener to work for me. I set up my character templates, got to know who the people were and then I was able to start the series.
Here’s an example of a blank template and part of one that I’m filling in as I get to know my heroine better.
And what my screen looks like now:
I went ahead and showed the right side of the screen so you can see where your notes can go. I use this part of Scrivener more than anything because it keeps details that I need right there in front of me no matter what scene I’m working on.
This is just a simple explanation of one thing that Scrivener can help you with. Keeping up with the details can be a tedious process. I’ve used a running word document where I list everything I need to address. I’ve used track changes so that I can easily find something I need to return to in a word document (I still do this after I compile from Scrivener and am giving it one last final read through.) I’ve also used an excel document to keep up with characters and their descriptions and backgrounds. So, I’m not saying Scrivener is the only way to do effectively keep up with the details, I’m just saying it’s one of the easiest ways I’ve found. And I wanted to share it with you!
How about you?
What have you found to be the best way for you to keep up with the details while writing your stories? I’m always open to suggestions and recommendations!
Lynette Eason grew up in Greenville, SC. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a Business Degree she used for a very short time, she moved to Spartanburg, SC to attend Converse College where she obtained her Master’s degree in Education. She started her teaching career at the South Carolina School for the deaf and blind. In 1996, she met the man she would marry—the boy next door!
She is married to Jack Eason, who speaks, leads worship, and consults ministries around the country. They have two teenage children.
Lynette’s books have appeared on the ECPA and CBA bestseller lists and have won several awards.
To learn more, visit her at www.lynetteeason.com.
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