As those of you who follow here know, I have a terrible time with sex scenes. You’ve seen me post before how I need to have a couple of beers, be alone in the house, have it dark and quiet, etc., before I can even pretend to get started and that doesn’t go into the many methods of procrastination I’ve developed for after all my conditions are met.
So, even though I know you are readers, not writers (mostly), and don’t want to hear about the nuts and bolts of writing, I can’t help but share my latest triumph. Starting with Beautiful Bad Man, I switched from writing in an ordinary word processing program to Scrivener, which is a program designed specifically for writers.
I kept reading about Scrivener on Kboards and was curious already, and then I realized the revisions I had to make in Dancing on Coals after hearing back from beta readers would have been much, much easier in Scrivener. So I put Rachel’s Eyes in the program, played around with it a little, and switched.
I only use probably 5% of the program’s features, but I learn another one every time I need it, and I’m quite happy. Now remember about my plodding linear mind. I write by outlining a story I’ve developed in my mind. Not a formal or very detailed outline, but enough to make a skeleton that among other things proves I do have a story—beginning, middle, end—that will make a novel. In cases like the short story, Rachel’s Eyes, or the novella, Luke’s Eyes, just the outline shows that they aren’t novels. I always have some idea what I’m getting into—or not.
I have from time to time seen other writers say they “write out of order.” Some scene or another appeals to them right at that moment, so they write it, even though it comes much later, and they then have to fit it in. When I first heard of this, naturally I was appalled. How could anyone do such a thing? Well, I found out.
Below is a screenshot of what Scrivener looks like taken from what I did with Beautiful Bad Man. The colors are customizable and are mine. I had to take this from my desktop because that’s where I had the graphics program to turn it into a jpg, and it looks a little different on the laptop I use for writing, but it’s essentially the same.
On the left is what’s called the Binder. You can build the skeleton of your work any way you please there. For me that’s chapters that serve as folders that only have subfolders in them that are scenes. The scenes have the text, and I have them color coded so the hero’s POV scenes are blue and the heroines’s pink (unimaginatively traditional, I know).
The Binder allows showing just the chapters or expanding the chapters to show the scenes. So I expanded a couple chapters in the screenshot to give you an idea. The truly lovely thing is I can move things around, add, and delete chapters and scenes, change them. Anything I want, and doing that easily in the Binder does it in the manuscript.
What you can’t see because the shot cuts them off are more folders for characters’ names and profiles, research, timeline, etc. So everything necessary for the book is in one place (I used to have printed out lists of characters, my outline, timeline and sometimes bits of research, scribbled all over).
So here I am, plodding along in my usual linear fashion in Without Words. Several chapters ahead of where I was I had a chapter labeled “Consummation,” and two scenes in that folder, one labeled, “Hassie Says Yes,” and one labeled, “Sex.” So I had an idea for the sex scene, and instead of making a note about it (you can see the area for notes on the lower right) and continuing along, I stopped and wrote the sex scene! Without beer! With the lights on!
I’m not sure what it means, and it’s true that when I got to that point in my linear fashion, I did have to revise to make things fit in with what went on before more smoothly, but getting to that point and having that scene done was such a good feeling! Wish I could say the same for the one I’m coming up on now.
The screenshot may look terribly busy, but for some reason that doesn’t bother me. There is a distraction-free mode one can get to with a keystroke that eliminates everything on the screen but the draft in the center section, but I never seem to use it. I like seeing the Binder on the left and knowing where I am. I like seeing the note card in the upper right that shows what I put in my outline and having the place for notes on the lower right.
So there you are, I had a non-linear moment.