By the end of this post you will be using an excel spreadsheet.
Don’t make that face—I know you’re a writer and not a data analyst. Or if you are a data analyst—I understand that you’re on this blog to get away from you day job. I get it. But guess what? At the suggestion of Randy Ingermason—the creator of the Snowflake Method— I listed all of the scenes in my novel in a nice little Google spreadsheet. It changed my novel-writing life, and doing the same will change yours too.
Are you trying to write faster? Writing a scene outline might be exactly what you need. But what is a scene outline, and how you can create one that help direct your story while giving you creative freedom?
A scene outline can give your story plan focus and prevent burnout or confusion when actually writing your story.
In this article, you’ll learn how to create a scene list that gives your big story idea focus, which will help you not only write faster, but give you a higher chance of actually finishing your book—and having fun while you write it!
Finishing a first draft is a huge deal. If you just accomplished this, be proud of yourself! At the same time, you might be wondering how to revise a novel after that first draft is done. There’s a lot of advice out there. Which do you listen to?
The revision process doesn’t have to be complicated. However, you might feel—especially if this is your first completed draft ever—intimidated to edit your book. There’s a lot of words and scenes to review. Where do you begin?
In this article, I’d like to share how I took a daunting editing process and created a simplified, concise, and clear strategy to revising your first draft. I do this with what I call a Revision List—a table with five columns that can help you simplify big ideas.
If you’re like me, you won’t ever want to edit a first draft without it!
Have you ever felt cheated when reading a book? Like the author held back information that would have enhanced your reading experience? Or neglected to include all the relevant details that would have allowed you to solve the mystery? Did the sequence of events in the story feel…off?
Think about this:
What if J.K. Rowling neglected to have Hagrid tell Harry about his parents’ deaths until the end of The Sorcerer’s Stone?
What if the writers of Die Hard had let Hans Gruber discover Holly was John McClane’s wife right up front?
What if Suzanne Collins had forgotten to alert readers to a rule change allowing tributes from the same district to win as a team in The Hunger Games?
Leaving out these vital pieces of information—or putting them in the wrong place—would have robbed these stories of a full measure of suspense. This would have dulled the impact of their final scenes.
As a writer, you never want readers to feel cheated or disappointed by your book. But how can you make sure you include all the relevant pieces of the puzzle, in the right order, to sustain suspense and satisfy your reader?
Do you want to learn how to use Scrivener?
If you’ve ever felt like a scene doesn’t work in your manuscript, you can use elements of a scene and the book writing software Scrivener, a great tool for writers, to improve your writing project.
The scene is the fundamental unit of story. It’s what drives the story forward, instilling purpose, drama, and emotion.
It’s critical to understand the elements that make it effective and know how to employ them.
In this article, that’s what we’ll examine—what a scene is and how to write an effective one. You’ll also learn how to use an organizational tool, Scrivener, to do this better.