Using Scrivener

I have approximately two-thirds of the planning for my NaNoWriMo project done in Scrivener, which I will use for the actual writing. I have all major character and place sketches, complete with tons of images, my chapters set up, and notes for each scene within most of the chapters. This will form my outline.

The logic behind this is: if I have a block/panic attack/whatever on November 1st, it won’t really matter. I will know what I need to write, and can just grab a scene and write it out of sequence, without the huge and daunting task of just starting at the beginning and continuing on from there. I understand there are a lot of “pantsers” who prefer to not work with an outline, or even more than just a very general idea of what they will be writing, but I can’t imagine doing that.

This is what my (probably completely Type-A) outline of chapters and scenes looks like. I even have things colour-coded. I can move the ideas around as needed, grab a scene, write it, and switch the status from “To Do” to “Done”. I admit that this is so anal that I should be embarrassed, but you know what? This is not a normal writing project, it is a challenge built around fixed deliverables, and I think it really needs to be planned – at least for me.


I have sections for my research (how a mixed-race upper-class marriage would have been accepted in Victorian Britain, drowned moon mythology and stories, and psychopomps) where I keep notes, links, and tons of reference images. The images below are goblin market ideas – anything from the Troll Market in Hellboy II to the faerie market in Stardust. I’ve been having a blast deciding what types of shops and stalls you would find in a goblin market (trust me, don’t eat the fruit).

A short video on some of Scrivener’s features follows. I’m planning on buying this when the demo runs out – hopefully with that nice 50% discount for being a NaNo winner! :D


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