Trying new software

We have a writing process, if you could call something as informal as ours a process, and it goes something like this.

Write a first draft

This has lots of holes, is full of little notes like “(add something here)” and “(change the earlier story to match this)”—because you know, the story changes as we go along and sometimes we go back and sometimes we don’t. The story is a lot more fleshed out in the earlier stages than it is in the later ones. This draft can be anywhere from 60,000 to 140,000 words.

Sort out the story

We’re pantsers. Sometimes the story comes out pretty much as we want and we just edit it, most times it’s full of junk and needs a lot of work. We work out what the story is about.

Organise the chapters

We used to do this with a spreadsheet, or even just using the headings on Word, but nowadays we do it on Post-It notes.


Rewrite the story.

Rewrite again

And again, and again, and again, until we have a story we’re happy with.

We’re at the ‘organise chapters’ phase of the novel we are working on, and I had just finished affinity-mapping a week of user research (google it—it’s a great technique for a lot of things, including writing). I use Post-Its to affinity map. Post-Its are marvellous tools (and at the rate I go through them, I should buy shares in 3M).

“If I see another Post-It in the next week I’ll … I don’t know what I’ll do,” I said.

So instead of switching to Word, like we normally do, I decided we’d invest in Scrivener.

Clever? No.

This is my third attempt at using Scrivener. Other writers love it, and I have to admit, I like the look of it, too, but I’m a Word guru from a long way back. There is little I can’t do in Word and do much faster than any other program.

Third time lucky? We’ll see how we go.

4 replies on “Trying new software”

I’ll admit to being very fond of Post-It notes.
Best wishes with your writing, organizing, and rewriting. May all go smoothly!

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