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A Mobile Workflow for Novels

by Lisa Morgan (follow)
A writer who also reads waaaay too much.
For Authors (10)      Software (1)     
An example of a workflow for writing


Writers on the go.

The workflow used by writers will vary according to how each writer thinks and organises. Myself for instance, seem to do better when I an able to write whenever inspiration strikes. For this to work, I need a mobile writing setup to meet my needs on the go, yet be versatile enough to collate in one spot.

My tools of the trade include my iPhone, a tablet, a camera and my computers. Across these devices, several programs sync all of my thoughts and writings, and I keep everything collated in a magnificent program called Scrivener.

iPhone & Evernote

The iPhone is the most accessible and mobile. I always have my phone near by which makes it the device of choice when it comes to getting these random thoughts recorded. The app I currently use for this is Evernote which syncs with Evernote on my computers. From there, I copy my notes into the relevant files in Scrivener. Evernote will eventually get ditched for any app that can sync/export directly into Scrivener, and edit existing files. If there is such an app, I have yet to find it.

Tablet, Scrivener & Windows Journal

I also have a Samsung Slate Windows 7 tablet, which is predominantly used to access Scrivener on the go. There currently is no Scrivener version for iOS or Android. The drawback of this is writing is done via a stylus - I prefer to type as my thoughts flow easier. I do have a portable keyboard but it then becomes more awkward than just taking a laptop.

However the stylus drawback has its upside as I find random scribbling and sketching aids creativity and inspiration. For this doodling, I use Windows Journal as my creative outlet. Think of the Journal as an electronic version of all those pieces of paper and Post-It notes that go missing when you need them! The important doodles are exported as image files and then imported into Scrivener for future reference.

Imported Windows Journal brainstorming next to Snowflake Step 2 in Scrivener


Laptop & Scrivener

My laptop is my primary device for using Scrivener and doing the bulk of my work in Scrivener. To keep Scrivener synced with any changes made using the Slate, I use Dropbox. Scrivener is setup to autosave straight to my Dropbox folder.

Scrivener Novel-writing Workflow

Workflow in Scrivener is based on the Snowflake method of novel writing. In fact, there is a Scrivener template which lets you get to work immediately without fiddling with the layout. Chapters are broken down into events and scenes which can be rearranged with a drag/drop and worked on in smaller sections. It is easy to switch back and forth between scenes or chapters. Scrivener also has a split feature which lets you view your planning such as a character sheet next to what you are currently working on.

For planning, there are files for each Snowflake step, folders for character workups, locations, major plot events, references, faction workups and research. A templates folder makes it easier to keep workup sheets and summaries uniform. All that is required is duplicating a template to edit. A lot of the time, I end up switching back and forth between the Snowflake steps, the planning documents and scenes within the novel.

What does your writing workflow look like?

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