Writing a Novel with Story Bible Using Scrivener and (soon) Aeon Timeline

Finally got far enough along (21,055 words!) in creating the story world in Scrivener that I needed to start the Story Bible. Now I will finally have need of Aeon Timeline. Bought it a while back knowing I didn’t need it yet but would eventually. Eventually is now. Or pretty soon, anyway, but probably not until after NaNoWriMo so I won’t scramble my brain while I’m working on the rough draft. :)

Scrivener: Write Any Way You Want To
Scrivener lets me write the way I want to
Scrivener lets me write the way I want to. Which means bouncing all over the place when I realize I need to change something in one place that also means I need to change something somewhere else. And that gives me another idea which changes another idea and leads to yet another one. See? All over the place. Not easy with one long document. A cinch with Scrivener. Work in one document if you prefer. Or do like I do and break it up in as many different ways as you like. Scrivener makes doing your Story Bible easy too. You may not always need that but sometimes you may. At my current level of development for this project I definitely want one. Worlds, races and religions, oh my! I shudder at the thought of keeping all those ideas in my goofy little brain or on one long page of scribbled notes.

Here’s a screenshot of the novel in Scrivener, edited to keep secrets, well, secret. This image is much reduced. Click on it for the full size image in all its (redacted) glory. ;)

The novel thus far

With everything I’ve written in Scrivener I’ve used a different setup. I start a project in the simplest way with hardly any folders. (Notice the folder for Unused Scenes, ones I want to use but haven’t figured out where they go yet. I sometimes name this folder Unordered Scenes.) But as the work evolves so does my workspace. I also keep a database outside Scrivener in DEVONthink Pro Office. I try to keep mostly simple text files in Scrivener along with a few images. This keeps the project slim and backups fast. Autosave is set in Preferences to every 2 seconds of inactivity, backups to when I close the project and to save to Dropbox, I manually backup to a folder on my laptop (which my Airport Time Capsule backs up automatically for me every day).

Aeon Timeline: Untangle Those Storylines

Here is an interesting looking post about using Scrivener and Aeon Timeline by a published author who uses both. (I know nothing about the author or his books having only just discovered him, but I’m enjoying his post and blog, and have just begun watching one of his many videos on writing.)

Keep those storylines untangled

More than just a timeline: Track all the information that matters

“Aeon Timeline is more than a series of events on a never ending line. With Aeon, you can divide your timeline into logical groups, projects, or concurrent arcs. You can model the relationships between events and people, places and ideas. Aeon calculates people’s ages for you. And you can link your events with research material such as external files or images that can be displayed inside the application.” I cheated and copied this from the website. I  haven’t used it enough to say anything intelligent about it yet except I think it will help me keep from getting overwhelmed. I’ll let you know how that goes. :)

Thanks for reading. I hope some of this was helpful. Now back to writing. Right after a late lunch. (The dawgs are finally asleep and I hate to wake them up, but I’m starving! All this novel-writing and blog-posting is hard work, ya know!) Peace be with you! :)

What a journey that was, Camp NaNoWriMo WIN, WOOHOO

2014-Winner-Facebook-ProfileAnother session of Camp NaNoWriMo is winding down and I just validated my word count. WIN! WOOHOO! But the best part is that just now, today, moments ago, I opened a new document in Scrivener and started typing up what I know about the setting, the characters, their relationships, their goals, the forces (or what-have-you) keeping them attaining those goals, and suddenly I felt like I knew where the story was going. I am beginning to know these characters, they are becoming real, deeper, fleshed out, alive. I’ve had glimmers of that before while developing this story. But those glimmers would appear and tantalize me, then fade away.

So annoying!

But I kept working on it — and taking breaks from it to do other things (read, play with the dogs, stargaze, watch shows like Sherlock and The Last Ship, play with the new slow cooker while teaching myself to cook — my favorite kitchen gadget is my iPad, don’t know what I would do without it). Looking at this latest version, I can see elements of earlier versions of the story, but I think this one is going to work much better than any of those. Hope renewed! I may just get this story written yet! And then there’s the wee matter of publication but that’s still down the road. Waaaay down the road. Still have a lot of work to do, but I’m excited about it. Thrilled, actually. Yay! Thanks for reading and I hope you’re enjoying whatever project you are (or aren’t) working on. Peace be with you! :)

Progress Meter

Blog and novel update, writing has resumed

Having completely dropped the ball on countless occasions and having let my liturgical calendar widgets remain hopelessly out of date, I finally got wise and put some RSS feed links in there so I won’t have to manually update the sidebar throughout the liturgical year. I am a bear of very little brain, after all, and having to manually update things bothers me. ;)

In other news, November is National Novel Writing Month and I have resumed work on my novel after a long hiatus. I’m trying something new this time. I’m trying not to overwhelm myself with thinking so much about what to write that I end up not writing anything much at all. I’m trying not to do so much research that I paralyze myself. I’m trying to remember that I said I was going to pray before writing sessions and go to Mass frequently during the week and not just on Sundays. Actually, I think I said I would go to Mass every day but that seems overwhelming now, too.


And therein lies the problem. I keep getting overwhelmed. I try to cram too much stuff into my project the way I try to stuff too many projects into my days. (I should probably mention that along with picking up my novel writing again, I also signed up for guitar, keyboard and basic accounting lessons last week. Online and at my own pace, true, but see what I mean? I am going to have to face and accept my limitations, physical and otherwise, at some point so I can finally accomplish/finish something. I’d like to publish at least one of my novels before the end of my life, you know?)


So I backed up all my Scrivener writing projects (actually, all my projects, writing, audio and what-not, are backed up in multiple places at least once daily) and started over with a new one. And this time I’m keeping it simple. I’ve kept all my research and it’s in the other Scrivener projects and in DevonThink databases when I need or want it. But I’m not pulling all that stuff into this Scrivener project while I write. Not this time. This time I’m going to push through with the story itself and not wander down interesting research paths that lead into labyrinthine blind alleys that go nowhere.

I’m allowing myself a little time to make some notes before and after writing text; but I am absolutely not allowing myself to get bogged down in endless notes with no actual story text to show for it at all at the end of the writing session. Nope. I’ve done that far too often and this time is going to be different. This time I am going to have a complete rough draft by the end of the month. It may stink to high heaven but it will be complete. Maybe not one word of it will make the cut when it’s time to revise it. But, dang it, it will be a complete draft. Or else! So there!

I have to speak to myself this way sometimes so I’ll take myself seriously and behave. Really, if I don’t complete a draft soon, I’ll have to stop calling myself a writer and just call myself a monumental fraud instead. Keep me in your prayers, if you would. I’d appreciate it. I pray for, and remember at Mass, all the folks who follow the blog or the Twitter feed, even the people who follow me with ill intent. (I pray for them the most.) Even if you only pass through without stopping long, even if you leave me a nasty comment, even if you spam the combox, I remember you in my prayers and at Mass. And the Mass is the highest form of prayer there is this side of Heaven.

Thanks for reading and God bless you if you made it this far. And if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, God bless you even more. May the Lord grant you peace and make His Face to shine upon you. Now and forever. Amen.

Blogging falls behind but novel rushes ahead

I know I’m way behind on posting here (or anywhere else, for that matter), but I am thrilled to report that the novel is really coming along and ahead of schedule. I am forcing, absolutely forcing myself to write text instead of endless notes to myself about the text. I generally get caught up generating ideas and things to work in and have a hard time getting actual novel text hammered out on the keyboard. I still allow myself a short time to do research and jot down ideas, but after a few minutes, I yell to myself, “Enough! Now write the bleeping novel already!” That’s worked pretty good. I let myself do quite a bit of research yesterday. Then I said to myself, “There! Now that is going to have to last you a good long time. You can do more of that for the revising stage. Now write!” Continue reading “Blogging falls behind but novel rushes ahead”