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Word choice reveals voice While I'm writing, at speed, words tumble onto my screen via my keyboard. They are rarely consciously chosen. Instead, my unconscious (or maybe subconscious) mind selects words from my vocabulary. Each of us has a unique vocabulary: a set of words that are familiar to us, and that we use with confidence. When we write, we include a subset of these words, and – with luck – the ones...

People, places and props deserve equal status In a previous blog post, I explained why I give places and props the same (if not more) attention than the people in my stories. I also introduced several tools that I use while writing. Split screens The Search function Collections Metadata Now that I've reached the second-fix stage of editing, metadata becomes even more valuable in allowing me to focus only on those scenes...

With dialogue, less is always more Steps 5-7 of my RedPen editing cycle required me to check on two fundamental decisions I've taken while writing Dead Wood. My choice of tense (present) My choice of voice (first person) And then to see how well I've structured the book. Having identified issues with the structure and balance, I have a number of options. I can add new material, filling any plot holes, providing more...

Scrivener has your back How you structure your book depends on what you're writing. Whatever you're writing, and however you prefer to write, Scrivener will support your strategy. A bottom-up approach might suit you if you're writing a novel. I tend to establish what scenes I need, based on my character sketches. Since I usually only start a new novel in September for that year's NaNoWriMo, I aim for 100 scenes...

I’m now hard copy editing (i.e. on paper) and my main focus is on pruning, but Scrivener still has a role to play. Three tools come to the fore at this stage. Searching Collections Styles For those keen to learn how I use these tools: scroll down towards the end of this post where I share specific examples. Meanwhile, this blog post explains how to create collection when you do a search. ...

Editing is a series of fixes Once a first draft is written, my strategy is to apply a first-fix approach as explained in this series of posts.In brief, I apply the RedPen Editing cycle to individual scenes, identifying four types of tasks and leaving myself comments including the key words: TASK GLOBAL TASK LOGIC TASK RESEARCH TASK STYLE Searching on these key words allows me to set up collections of scenes that...

I'm aiming for a SMART start to 2022. First, though, let me wish you a Happy New Year! People - not just writers - fall into two camps. Those who write New Year Resolutions Those who don't I'm with the first crowd, even though I know and accept the argument of those who don't: it's never long before you break those resolutions. So what's the point? Good question! What's the point of a...

Festive Greetings to one and all It's that time of year again and I am having a longer break than usual. I'm hanging up my blogging pen until Monday 3 January. Put it down to advanced age, or the fact that, what with what we've all been through the past 21 months, I need to devote more time to rest and relaxation. Meanwhile though, I have Christmas gifts for you! Christmas gift of Scrivener...

Scrivener, your nag buddy A week into NaNo and it's 'normal' to start wondering why. Why did you ever think you could maintain a daily production of 1666 words? Why didn't you do more preparation? Why? Why? Why! Frankly, having started, I'd recommend you press on. The rewards - the sense of achievement, the fact that you have a lot of words which will form the core of your next novel -...