Saturday, September 21, 2013

Organizing My Work

I'm getting back to Balfrith this weekend - Yay!

But the first thing I need to do is, organize my work. In a previous post, I had mentioned a feature of Scrivener where I could view the scenes in a chapter as note cards on a cork board. Since going through the story, I have now given each scene a label and a status.

Labels are generally used to indicate the type of document I am looking at. In most cases, the label I used is simply "Scene", since I have my chapters broken down into individual scenes and each scene is a separate file. The only other label I am currently using is "Scene Needed", which was a custom label that I added with its own color code. As you can probably guess, this label indicates where I have an empty or incomplete scene that needs to be written, presumably with some notes reminding me what it is that I need to write.

Status codes are used to tell me where in the process a particular bit of writing is. Most of my scenes are labeled as First Draft, But I do have two other status codes that I'm using as needed. "To Do" indicates that there is some note in the labeled scene that says I need to do something. Usually the to-do item is minor, like adding some bit of description to an item, or reminding myself to foreshadow an event earlier in the story, or something like that. But I have also marked any "Scene Needed" cards as to-do items, since that is what they are. "Rework" is a custom status that I added, indicating that I need to do significant rework to a scene. In those scenes, I will have a note telling me what needs to be done.

Between the Scene Needed label, and the To Do and Rework statuses, I have broken my remaining work into 3 simple categories.

When it comes to organizing the work, I will focus first on the missing scenes. Those are the hardest, but they will also have the most impact on the overall story, and might force me to go back and change other things if I suddenly get a flash of inspiration or realize that the story has a major plot hole. Not that I think this particularly likely, but it is possible. So I will start with the big items, the missing scenes, and write those.

After the missing scenes are written, I will move to the items marked Rework. Those are the next-biggest tasks to do, as they generally indicate a complete re-write of a scene and again might impact the story depending on how they are re-done.

Finally come the To Do items - the ones that are not missing scenes, that is. These are the minor items, which are tempting to do first because they are quick and easy. The potential problem is that if I write a new scene or re-write an existing scene and change some significant piece of the story, I might also have to re-do some of the work in these minor to-do items. And if I had already done the to-do items, then I will just need to go back and do them yet again. So rather than making myself do the same work twice or three times, I will let the to-do items wait until the end, when all the scenes are completed and/or reworked, and I am on more solid ground with respect to the overall story, plot, characterization, etc.

And that is how I will proceed with the work on the story, starting today. Let the writing of new and missing scenes begin!

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