I’ve been absent. My little green couch, perfect for me to spread out with my laptop and type-type away, has me like a magnet. Doing what? Learning how to use Scrivener and pining over my third self-edit (fourth draft!). I even gained five pounds. The good news is that while on this editing and procrastinating spree, I started using #manuscriptmondays on my Instagram and have reached 200 likes on Facebook. YAY!
Self-editing takes so looooong but it’s worth it
Remember my post on self-editing? It doesn’t take as much time to write a blog post as it does to edit 500 words.
After addressing character strengths and weaknesses, plot challenges, chapter and paragraph level tension, cutting the fluff, etc., I took my draft to ProWriting Aid 500 words at a time. I should probably pay for the service so I can paste the whole thing in, but I prefer to torture myself. During this process, I learned so much about the way I use words and I highly suggest using this editing tool and the other ones from that blog post.
Not every suggestion is a good idea. Take, for example, the suggestion above. ProWriting Aid has little mistakes and so does Grammarly. They can only do so much with their programming. “Juice” is not a good substitute for “blood.”
Nothing beats a real editor, and I still intend to use one, but this process has increased my chances of getting an agent and not paying as much for editing (if I go self-pub). My readers are also engaged with this resulting draft.
About my new favorite toy, Scrivener
Many authors are happy with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Evernote, or OneNote, but Scrivener is a different beast altogether. It’s not a word processor, it is a research organizer, storyboarder, time capsule, outliner, character profile maker, place profile maker, note taker, scene organizer, OMGLOOKWHATIWASMISSINGTHISWHOLETIME thing. If I had used this tool from the beginning I would have had a much easier go at drafting. But all things are learned.
The downside? It’s not available on Android, so I couldn’t have used it when inspiration struck on the go. Desktop (PC and Mac) or IOS. I, of course, worry about this occasionally so I use Microsoft OneNote to organize my random ideas and then copy and paste into Scrivener at night. It’s easier to organize than Google Docs and syncs over all devices. I still use Docs for sharing with readers, though. Nothing seems to top the cloud-based commenting and suggesting functions.
Alternatives to Scrivener
Don’t forget you can get a discount for the costly programs during and after NaNoWriMo. I checked these out and ultimately didn’t like them as much or couldn’t use them. That doesn’t mean they won’t work for you!
Storyist: This one is for MAC and IOS only. It’s a little cheaper than Scrivener and I used the free trial. I liked it for it’s organizing abilities and nearly all the things Scrivener does (only not as easy to tweak for what might be missing). I couldn’t figure out how to get it to export only one chapter at a time, though, which was kind of annoying. But if you like it, it’s worth it!
Dabble: This is what I would like to have, but it requires a subscription I can’t afford quite yet. I like that it is accessible on every device that has internet. You never have to update the software because it’s always the newest version.
Bibisco: This one is FREE. I had trouble getting it to work with ten-year-old mac (at the time) so I wasn’t able to try it. It does boast some similar tools as Scrivener and has a different layout. You should check it out!
yWriter: Another FREE one. This is popular but will not work on Mac. Again, I didn’t luck out on that.
FreeWriter: Also FREE. It is organized a lot like Scrivener. I couldn’t use it on the MAC, again, haha!
Novelist App: FREE for your phone! But only your phone. I wish so badly it was available online instead of just in the app. It is a great organizing and creative tool. Please do check it out if you’re planning on the go.