Tag Archives: writing tools

Scrivener: All-Important Word Counts and Project Targets

Scrivener Project Targets

Scrivener’s my favorite writing tool. It’s packed with goodies.

I use Scrivener for Mac, although there’s also a Windows version.

Although I’ve been using Scrivener for years, I usually track my word count goals manually, as I did in the days before Scrivener.

This morning I was obsessing about a novel I’m working on. Out of sheer frustration, I decided that I’d write a novella, rather than continue work on the novel. This was a big clue that I’m procrastinating. 🙂

So instead of working, I tinkered with Scrivener. My total word count goal is around 70,000 words for the novel, so I entered the target into Project Targets. (From the menu: Project, Show/ Hide Project Targets.) You can see what Project Targets looks like — check the image on the top right of this post.

Then I entered my deadline. I was amazed — I just need to write 704 words a day, to complete the draft by my deadline. That made me feel a lot better, because it’s doable. I can leave Scrivener open, and can write a couple of hundred words in between dealing with other work.

Tracking a project’s progress

Scrivener provides many ways to track your progress. On a document level, you can track your word count for the document, by clicking the circle icon in the footer bar.

Target word count

A dialog box opens, as in the image above, and you can enter your word count for the scene.

Then you get a progress bar for the document, as in the image below.

Footer Bar

Want a word count target for a chapter? You can enter word count goals for chapters too, in Outline view, using the columns.

If you’re a Scrivener user, check out the various tools Scrivener gives you to help you to meet your daily word count goals, and complete your project by the deadline. They’re fun to use, inspiring, and work automatically — no more boring spreadsheets.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Novelist’s Fast-Start: Collage With Words and Images

Write a Novel

Want to write a novel and find it hard to get started?

Here’s a strategy that I use, and teach my writing students – collage. A collage is a collection of words and images, which while unrelated, will transform before your eyes into the plot of a novel.

It’s magic.

Free write elements for your collage

Free writing is simple to do – I like to think of it as free form brainstorming.

Here’s how to free write. Set a timer for five minutes, and start writing. It doesn’t matter much what you write. The results of a particular free writing session aren’t important. Here’s Wikipedia on free writing.

Pinterest’s very useful for free writing inspiration. Go to Pinterest, and type “actress” into the search query field.

Actress Pinterest
Pinterest search

Choose an image, and switch on your timer and start your free write. Your right brain “thinks” in images, so starting by glancing at some images helps.

Here are some additional words to type into Pinterest’s search query field, one by one: actor, car, river, beach, history… you get the idea. Just enter anything that comes to mind, and then choose an image and start writing.

Collect images for your collage

Got any old magazines? Rip out any images which appeal to you. You’ll use them for your collage. You can collect as many images as you like.

My friends bring me their old magazines, and I go through them for collage material. I store my images in an archive box – I know that even if I don’t use them right away, one day I will.

How to make your collage

Once you’ve got some free writes, you can make your collage.

Make your collage by hand; that’s easiest. All you need is a sheet of poster board, or a large artist’s sketchbook, and some glue. Your collage can be any size your like. I like mine to be large – 3 foot by 4 foot. I can prop the collage up, so that I can look at it for a few days.

Print out your free writes. Then cut them up. You want snippets which are around a paragraph long.

Paste some images you’ve ripped from magazines onto the poster board, and then paste in some snippets.

Keep going. Once your collage is done, you can sit and look at it.

Often, characters and a plot will come to you right away – you may not even complete the collage. At other times, it will take several days for material to gel in your subconscious mind.

Try collaging. It’s a fun and easy way to get started on your next novel.

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: Mara ~earth light~ via photopin cc