East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Revision and final draft in Scrivener


Scrivener (software)

So the final draft of my novel is coming along, and I’m doing it in Scrivener.

Now, the first draft was written two years back using my usual Gedit + LibreOffice.
I hammered away at a chapter in Gedit, then I pasted it in LibreOffice, revising and cleaning it up.
Then on to the second.
In this way I wrote a workable first draft of a 40.000 words novel in 20 chapters, and I did it in ten days.
Nice and smooth.

Now, for the revision.
I have here the editor’s notes – I know what my editor and my publisher want from me.
We discussed the details, we worked out what worked and what not.
Time to do the final.
And I’ve to do in in English (the first draft was in Italian).

Now the language change is no big deal – as I pointed out earlier, for me translating my own work always means revising and rewriting it.
And English is certainly a language more suited, in my opinion, to fast-paced, character-driven adventure fiction.

So, I uploaded my first draft in Scrivener, as a single file housed in the Resources folder of my project – together with a few Wikipedia pages I imported for reference.
I set my project targets – no less than 60.000 words for the whole book, no less than 1500 words a day.
Then I started doing the revision/translation.
I created separate files for each major scene in each chapter – numbering them 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1 etc…

hanger-do-not-disturb-writer-at-workI use the Vertical Split Screen function, which allows me to keep the first draft on the left and the final draft on the right. By turning off the inspector, on my screen the split columns have more or less the same width of a print page.
I have my reference, I can read the Italian passages and then I do them in English. Again, this is not translating, is retelling the same stuff in a more effective way, in a different language. I find it helps a lot the revision/rewrite/expansion process.
For the future, doing one draft in a language and the final in another might be the way to go for me.
I can use the “gear shift” that switching from one language to the other requires.

Back in Scrivener, on the corkboard there’s not much moving around of scenes at the moment – the outline and structure of the story is pretty solid as it is, at least in the first half of the first draft.
But the corkboard allows me to slip in other stuff between chapters – such as quotes, chapter headings and what not.

So, the good news is, work is going strong, and in this first part, as foreseen there’s no big problems.
Each chapter takes one to two days to rewrite fully, which means I’ll have a finished final in 30/40 days if I can keep this rhithm*.
Also, each 2000 words first draft chapter in Italian is turning into a 4000 words chapter in English – meaning I might as well end with a book that’s closer to 80.000 words than the expected 60.000.
Now that’s nice.

* And this is October! Curses! We could have set things up differently with my publisher, and done this as a NaNoWriMo project!

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

4 thoughts on “Revision and final draft in Scrivener

  1. You will write much more for the NaNoWriMo, I’m sure! 😀
    You have always some new project coming up and you always start with one project but after a while you collect so many ideas and the single project burst and become more projects… 😉
    So I wait for your NaNoWriMo! 😀


  2. Pingback: It’s over (almost) | Karavansara

  3. Pingback: 5 Tools Everyone Writing Adventure Stories Should Be Using | Karavansara

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