March Creative Challenge: Halfway Point Check-in – life+running

March Creative Challenge: Halfway Point Check-in

This month’s creative challenge is chugging along.

I’m working on one of my two goals:

  1. Revise two chapters of the same piece—OR
  2. —revise the same chapter for two different pieces.

I started revising my first two chapters of the thriller version of my (still untitled) LA novel. I mentioned in the first post about this challenge that I decided to write both the thriller and romance versions since the thriller+romance wasn’t really working for me.

For those of you interested in my process:

I write in Scrivener. One of my design professors suggested I use it for grad school (THANKS a million times over!), and it has been mostly responsible my drive to continue writing. Scrivener makes it easy to write in different sections and shuffle the sections around. It allows you to create separate note sections within the same document that you can easily navigate to and from as you’re writing. There are pasteboards within each section to write notes or place things that don’t quite fit. I can’t give this little program enough accolades.

Anyhow, when I start a revision …

I start with a clean slate. Instead of opening a new document, I use Scrivener to my advantage and create a new folder in the same project, so I can easily reference notes from earlier versions.

Scrivener process: move old drafts to new folder to start a clean revision

I dump old character and place sketches, conflicts, research (you’ll notice I had ZERO research for the first draft), and other elements into the last draft folder. I might re-use pieces, but I find it’s better to revise if I’m re-writing rather than copying and pasting. I catch a lot of errors and it helps me re-think ideas.

Scrivener process: move old drafts to new folder to start a clean revision

You’ll notice that this is my third draft (!!!) and that I used a knife emoji and heart emoji to denote thriller vs. romance version. Since my previous two drafts had wildly different plots, the third drafts are where I am finally starting to revise some of the writing and not the plot points themselves. I have a lot of that to do, but I have a really solid plot outline for both versions, although I’ve already deviated from the thriller plot since Mark and I came up with a couple of elements that work better than plot points in my outline.

As I’m writing, I use the highlight function to help keep my place and to mark areas that need reworked when revising the writing. Sometimes I have to slop down some really terrible writing to keep the plot moving, and I know I can worry about word selection, syntax, and grammar in a later revision. I was using two colors of highlight to denote different things, but that got tedious, so I bookmark my stopping point using the closest white space.

Scrivener process: using the highlighter to mark place and for later revisions

I haven’t ever finished a fiction story, so this process is new to me. I adapted it from my non-fiction (thesis and research) writing process, and so far it seems to work. The main difference between this and my non-fiction process is that I copy and paste everything into the new folder rather than starting over. Non-fiction needs immediate wordsmithing and no plot changes upon revision.

Anyway, there’s your nerdy look into my writing process. Maybe someday I’ll finish this and you can read it. If it’s at all palatable. 🙂


Do you have a really nerdy process for one of your hobbies? Share!

Love on ya, chimes

2 Comment

  1. Tamara says: Reply

    I love this glimpse into your process!! I have had Scrivener for several years and for some reason I feel entirely daunted by it. But those who use it rave so much that I really must dig in and get over my intimidation factor.

    I’m starting an online masters program soon… did you use Scrivener for your school writing/projects? I’d love any tips you may have on how to use it for both purposes, fiction and academic writing. <3

    1. Calee says: Reply

      Hey, lady! I definitely recommend using Scrivener for school work. It’s super handy for note-taking, outlining and writing papers, and researching. I did all of my research in Scrivener using the corkboard function. I was taught to write research papers by writing references on and sorting ACTUAL index cards, so this function made so much sense to me. I typically compose papers around the research, and it was super nice to virtually sort the cards into piles and then hit “compile” to create a quick outline. I still like putting pen to paper, so I wrote my first draft of my thesis and a few papers by printing this outline and writing on it.

      I liked taking notes in Scrivener (especially for art history classes) because I could write papers in the same project file and easily search my notes at the same time. I think you could play with similar functions in Evernote, but if you already HAVE Scrivener, give it a try for school work! Once I figured out how to use it for school work, it was much easier to use for fiction.

      Oh, and the other nice thing about Scrivener is it keeps track of word counts and can help you determine how much you have to write in a day to hit those word counts. I love this function for both school and hobby writing.

      I’ll try to share more of these process things since maybe it’s helpful. I’m sure that there are a billion more functions I could be using but I tend to find my process through use. Blogging keeps falling off my radar even though I have a million ideas of things to share. 🙂

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