As long-time readers of ‘Nightspore’ will know, I have been a fan of Scrivener writing software for quite a while now and find it an invaluable writing tool.
I did struggle a bit when I first started using the software because of the scope of what it does.
What would have helped me start “Rose In Winter”, my first novel (previously I had stuck to short stories), is a template that did more than just help format the final output and provide buckets for research etc. Although Scrivener’s storyboarding and synopsis tools are very powerful, there is much more that can be done with it if one knows where to start.
Impatient to get going, I took a “let’s start writing” approach which has since proved to be bit of a problem as I had not worked out enough of the plot and structure for my novel and had almost nothing beforehand on the characters. It all just “grew” – I am now trying to sort out the unholy mess by developing character outlines and breaking the story down into five (possibly more) novelette / novella length sections.
As well as manuscript parts for ‘just typing your novel’ she has included detailed instructions and ‘fill in the blanks’ elements for the conventional three act structure, semi-structured plotting, scene building and a wealth of material around developing characters (which I really wish I had found a year or two ago!). Also, of particular interest to fantasy and SF writers but useful for any novelist, there are sections on ‘world-building (such as cultures and geiography) and other research.
As if this was not enough, there is also a section on producing your final output in paperback novel format or as an e-book, complete with instructions on how to include cover art-work.
Rather than include the template here, I encourage you to read Caroline’s article about the template on her website. Not only will this have her latest version (I understand her template is being refined at the moment) but there are also screenshots and more information about what the template covers.