scrivener tips for nanowrimo

Writers in the Grove Scrivener Project Template for NaNoWriMo

Writers in the Grove members have been participating in the annual National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, for several years. Along the way we’ve shared many word trackers and NaNoWriMo Scrivener Templates, and this year, we are introducing our own.

In the free downloadable zip file, you will find:

  • NaNoWriMo Template by Writers in the Grove: In Scrivener, go to File > New Project > Options > Import Templates and import this template into Scrivener. To use, look in the Fiction section and select it. Edit to suit your needs.

    NaNoWriMo Writers in the Grove Scrivener Project Template

  • NaNoWriMo Word and Hour Tracker by Lorelle and Writers in the Grove: An Excel spreadsheet for tracking your NaNoWriMo progress by word count or hour count. Instructions included.

    NaNoWriMo Writers in the Grove Spreadsheet for Word TrackingNaNoWriMo Writers in the Grove Spreadsheet for Hour Tracking

  • NaNoWriMo Scrivener Project by Lorelle: This is the original NaNoWriMo project for the Scrivener template if you wish to open it and explore and modify it as your own. Please use File > Save As to rename it to protect the original.

All files are designed to be reused over and over again. We may make changes, so stop by for updates once a year, or more would be appreciated.

As with all new ventures, we’d appreciate feedback and corrections and we will update the files here accordingly.

Again, you can download the free zip file with all the goodies, and have fun with NaNoWriMo.

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NaNoWriMo 2016

It is almost time for the annual NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. It begins at midnight October 31, and runs through the last day of November.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words (and complete a novel) in 30 days.

Don’t stress out yet. The numbers divide down to 1,667 words a day, typically 60-90 minutes of writing.

Join more than 300,000 people globally, and Writers in the Grove members, by participating actively or passively. This can be a solo experience or a highly social one. You can connect online and/or connect in person through the many local activities, events, and write-ins where people gather in a social space to write and get to know each other.

Go to the NaNoWriMo site for more information, and check out last year’s “It’s NaNoWriMo Time: How To, Tips, Techniques, and Survival Advice.”

Last year, Writers in the Grove had about eight people participating, some openly, some secretly, not willing to go public because they were afraid of failure. Let’s clear something up right from the start. There is no failing with this. The goal is to write, and anything that gets you writing, and keeps you writing, is a good thing, whether or not you achieve the 50K goal. Many never reach it, but keep trying year after year.

NaNoWriMo is not just about the word count. It is about the writing.

To handle the diverse Writers in the Grove membership needs, we are once again challenging our members to do one of the following:

  1. Write a minimum of 1,667 words a day.
  2. Write for an hour minimum a day.

What You Will Learn From Participating in NaNoWriMo

Last year was the first year we had many members participating and we all learned so much, it was an amazing journey. Here are some samples:

  • I learned I could write consistently every day.
  • I learned how to write consistently daily.
  • I discovered some fears and road blocks I didn’t know I had.
  • I figured out how to work harder with less research.
  • I just wrote. Usually I spend too much time in my head and less writing, but I just wrote.
  • I learned it isn’t as hard as it sounds.
  • I learned that I had something to say, a story to tell.
  • I realized how much I allow life to get in my way. I sit down to write and the phone rings, doorbell goes off, email pings, thoughts roam – and how much I need to just say no.
  • I realized that the true art in writing is editing after you write.

NaNoWriMo is a chance to note all the things that get in your writing way. Keep a notebook and jot them down when you encounter them, and make a plan around or through them. You will always need those solutions as you charge ahead with your writing career. (more…)

NaNoWriMo: Beat Sheets and Story Engineering Worksheets

There are some terms you need to know if you will be participating in NaNoWriMo this year.

  • Plotter: A writer who plots out their story with an outline, which they tend to follow for the most part during NaNoWriMo.
  • Pantser: A writer tackling NaNoWriMo with little planning and forethought, just writing by the seat of their pants.

A few years ago, a new term arose, brought to light by Angela Quarles, self-labeled a Geek Girl Romance Writer. She also offers writing advice, tutorials, and tools to help writers.

In her post about her experience and the lessons learned, she describes the two key types of writers who participate in the National Novel Writing Month challenge, and invented her own type called plotser:

What’s a plotser? A cross between a pantser and a plotter, with maybe a wee bit more emphasis on the pre-plotting.

With Hurricane Sandy and other circumstances, my new agent (signed only on Oct 4) and I weren’t able to coordinate on what direction to take for a sequel to MUST LOVE BREECHES. So for most of October, I wasn’t even sure if I was participating in NaNoWriMo. Then at the end of the month, I decided to take up a premise that had nothing to do with BREECHES so I wouldn’t waste my time writing a sequel she didn’t want.

However, that meant I’d not spent time plotting at all.

I had what I thought was a fun premise and a sense of who the H/h were and so started one day late on November 2. I caught up with everyone over the weekend and was doing swimmingly until about Day 5, then my word count dribbled downward and things ground to a halt. I had no idea where I was going with this and I didn’t like feeling that way. This wasn’t the normal ‘what I’m writing is drivel’ feeling, I really felt like all my characters were just spinning their wheels waiting for something to happen. Like the plot. Ugh.

A local writer friend sagely advised me to take a break for a week, two weeks, to figure out the plot and then do a FastDraft blitz at the end. So I did! I ended up creating a spreadsheet to help myself stay focused on what I needed to discover…

As a result of her experience, she created the Story Engineering Worksheet (Excel Spreadsheet), a spreadsheet created in Excel that breaks down all the elements of a novel into their finest detail. To download, click, on the link or right click and save to your hard drive.

Described as a “mix of the four act/part structure, and beat sheets,” the worksheet is based on the spreadsheet by Jamie Gold called a beat sheet, a worksheet that structures your plot all on one page.

Described by Storyfix in their Lessons for Writers:

The “beat sheet” is a way to sequence your story, using bullets instead of whole sentences or paragraphs.

Yes, this is an outline, but it is more than that. It is a scene structure for your novel built around basic plot points or story arcs. (more…)

NaNoWriMo Novel Template for Scrivener

We’ve several members prepping for NaNoWriMo this year, the annual National Novel Writing Month where writers commit to write 50,000 words in 30 days through the month of November. We’ve put together “It’s NaNoWriMo Time: How To, Tips, Techniques, and Survival Advice” to help you as well.

For those using Scrivener to write and track their daily targets of 1,667 words, Scrivener is not only offered for 20% off during NaNoWriMo, but they also have a NaNoWriMo Novel Template to help you keep track of your progress.

Download and install the free (or paid) version of Scrivener. You will find all the information including tutorials and the template file on their Scrivener NaNoWriMo 2015 Offers web page.

NaNoWriMo Novel Template Setup.To install the NaNoWriMo Novel Template:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the 2015 offers web page and look for the title The NaNoWriMo Novel Template
  2. Click or right click and save the ZIP file for the version of Scrivener you are using (Mac or Windows)
  3. Extract the scrivtemplate file to the directory where Scrivener is installed and the subdirectory called ProjectTemplates.
    • The location on your computer is typically C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Scrivener\ProjectTemplates
  4. Open Scrivener and go to File > New Project
  5. Switch to the Fiction Templates
  6. Look for a template titled NaNoWriMo Novel Template and select it
  7. Type in a file name such as “My November 2015 Novel Draft” and choose the folder in which to store the files within your Documents folder
  8. Click Create
  9. The first document you will see contains all the instructions you need to understand how to use the template during NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo Novel Template Instructions.

To get started on November 1, go to Project > Project Targets and drag that pop-up window to a location where it doesn’t interfere with your writing. Start writing, and glance over after 45 minutes or so to see how you are doing. (more…)