The Writing of a First Draft – a Technology Image Gallery

An Explanation of the Technology Used and my Process

1. Organising the Writing Project

1.1 The Novel Project – Getting and Keeping Organised

My main writing project software is Scrivener for Windows. However, I’m a visual person and also like to take my writing out on the road (or to the local swimming pool), and Scrivener as yet doesn’t have an iPad app. Being a visual person, I like to see my plans and process, and helpfully these are easily shared with you because of it.

Corkulous (iPAD) App | Project Organisation, Tasks and Thoughts

Corkulous - Full ViewCorkulous lets you create corkboards. I have a –

  • Main board (shown to the right)
  • Subsidiary boards – Pre-Planning, 1st Draft, Re-visualising, Revision & Editing. In time there will be a Publication board and one for Marketing/Promotion.

The boards allow me to use images, checklists, notes, labels and arrange how I like. Boards can go down several levels, and can be exported, or an image saved. Tasks can be transferred into relevant task apps.

Evernote (PC, iPAD, Web) App | Overall Research

Evernote - Research Notebook
My project research is kept within the project in Scrivener, but every writer also keeps numerous clippings, files and notes on overall research.  I write thrillers, so some of this stuff can be a bit graphic – research on serial killers, for instance.

I use Evernote (Premium) – my notes can be made and synched through onto my iPAD, my PC Evernote App, or via the webclipper plugin in my browser.  All the notes can also be found on a webserver for easy access. I can tag and search how I want, and hold multiple notebooks on Writing, and my Series Research notebook.

Note – I got by reasonably well with the free version of Evernote, but recently upgraded to premium, allowing me extra storage, and off-line notebooks.

Scrivener Windows App | Series Guide

Scrivaner 5 - Series Guide projectMy novels are currently part of a 6 part series I have in mind. As such, I need to keep an eye on all the main characters who appear in multiple stories, their backstories, and profiles as novel events change them. I also need to keep an eye on timelines of those same events, and any other things I might reference back to from subsequent novels.

My Series Bible (or Guide) is kept in a main project called “The Blue Guide” (after my main character, Blue Raynes) in Scrivener. Once I’ve updated each novel’s elements such as character profiles etc, I simply copy over the updated versions into the series guide. When I start a new novel, I copy the relevant characters, notes, timelines and files over into the new project.

The thumb to the right shows my journal in the Series Guide, where I am working out my pitch and loglines for each novel.

1.2 Transferring Files

corkulous - file transfer snippet
One of the Corkulous boards contains a visual of my own transferral file needs.

From PC to iPAD and Back

I do a lot of jotting, thinking, and idea writing through the pre-planning, first draft write, and revision processes, and need to move these across from iPad to PC and back. The majority of these are transferred into rich text files which can be imported back into Scrivener. (For the below, I use the free service, although if I need further storage and upload benefits, many offer a premium service).

  • Dropbox – provides file transfers and synchronising between the PC and iPAD, with many iPAD writing and note-taking apps supporting transfer through Dropbox. Dropbox users can also access their files on a webserver, and share folders with friends. Many file formats are supported.
  • Simplenote – this is a simple note-taking app for Mac users (and is therefore on my iPAD as an app), also available on the internet. Simplenote allows for catergorisation of text notes by tags. To write and synch notes from the PC side, I need a Windows App that synchs with the Simplenotes server also.
    • Resophnotes is my Windows app of preference because it works with the tag categories my notes are in, however I am currently experiencing synching problems with connection with the Simplenote server on the latest version.
    • Gumnotes also provides synching with Simplenote, although it’s more rudimentary.

Writing File Transfers

  • Scrivener – my main writing is done via Scrivener for Windows, but when it comes to wanting to do a little writing on my iPad, I must transfer over files from Scrivener (Scrivener doesn’t have an iPAD app as yet). While Mac Scrivener users have some functionality for synching Scrivener files via Simplenotes synch, the Windows version does not yet provide this. So, for me, it’s a manual process where I export these as rich text files, then use Dropbox for the transfer, and open the files up in several writing apps that support this.
  • Pages is my iPAD writing app of choice – it allows for some formatting, and saves to several file types so that I can Dropbox it back to my PC and import the file back into Scrivener. There, I can tidy up the font and formatting. Pages is a relatively expensive writing app, synching with the Mac version. There are plenty of others which also tackle rich text files and imports/exports in nice ways. I like Manuscript app also.
  • Other quick notes are created in apps such as Simplenote, synched over, and then copied and pasted as a new text file in Scrivener.

Reading and Revising File Transfers

When it comes to reading and revising my drafts, I have and use several options.

  • Scrivener has multiple compile options including Compile as PDF. If I then move this PDF over via Dropbox to my iPAD, I use an app called iAnnotate PDF which lets me add multiple types of notes, and colour codes onto the PDF file itself.
  • Seeing the full manuscript in a different format is also beneficial when the first draft is complete. I go the full hog, and compile it in Scrivener using the ebook compilation templates – for PDF, e-pub or mobi. I convert to Kindle and iTunes format, and transfer these files, complete with book covers , over via Dropbox, and open them into the relevant apps on my iPAD – the Kindle App or iBooks. Then I add notes or comments as I read along.

Coming up –> The Writing Processes – From Preparation / Planning & Outlining to Revision & Rewriting

4 thoughts on “The Writing of a First Draft – a Technology Image Gallery

  1. This is very instructional. I can follow the graphic and understand the process. It looks as if you have Evernote on the desktop and the tablet so it would be just a matter of syncing. I don’t know Scrivener but will check it out. I have 3DS Max for graphics but never considered it as a planning tool for writing! Very clever and thanks muchly for the heads up.

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