Tuesday Scrivenings

January 3, 2023 @ 2:09 pm | Filed under:
Screenshot from Moonrise Kingdom with five color dots below

Moonrise Kingdom screenshot from Wes Anderson Palettes

What’s on deck for you today? I’m trying to get my head back into work mode. I’ll be diving into a new Dart (the young middle-grade literature & mechanics guides I write for Brave Writer), this time for the April book, Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey, a wonderful short novel by Erin Entrada Kelly, whose work I love. I’ve written almost all of the Darts and a lot of the Arrow guides, over the years. They’re challenging to write but it’s really enjoyable work—getting to dig into other authors’ books and talk about what they’re doing with language. I love the playful vibe and the chance to share my enthusiasm for the fantastic books my editor, Dawn Smith, chooses each year.

I write my Darts in Scrivener, so that’s today’s work: setting up the new draft. After almost six years of working on Brave Writer guides, I must say my Scrivener template is a thing of beauty. 😉 My appreciation of Scrivener as a writing tool has only grown over the years. Its learning curve is on the steep side, but there are great tutorials, and once you know how to use its features, it’s incredibly flexible. I do most of my writing in it: novels (the corkboard view that lets you move scenes around is something I couldn’t live without); blog post drafts (although, oddly, not this one); stitching project notes; interstitial journaling; even some planning.

One day last summer, for my own amusement, I googled “Wes Anderson palettes” and sure enough, there’s a Tumblr for that. I found two palettes I loved and used them as starting points to create my own array of preset colors for my labels and files. Because the prettier the workspace is, the more time I want to spend in it.

I’m working on a new novel at the moment, and it, too, lives in Scrivener. I’m able to stash lots of research and reference photos there, and character notes, plot notes, anything really.

One of the best things about working in this platform is that it lives outside my browser. It’s completely separate from the internet. I mean, I can link to things that would open in a browser, but with Scrivener I could work completely offline, if I wanted to.

(I will never want to. It automatically backs up to my Dropbox, and I wouldn’t like writing without that security net. But I could, is what I’m saying.)

P.S. I said I wasn’t going to bother with book links, and I’m mostly not going to? Sort of? This may sound silly, but I miss the way a title shows up in red when I turn it into a link. So maybe sometimes, when I feel like it, I’ll grab a Bookshop.org link. I dunno. I’m figuring it out as I go along. I suppose where I landed the other day was that I intend to eliminate unnecessary busywork. And what feels like busywork is going to change from day to day. Today, I wanted pretty.

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11 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Melanie Bettinelli says:

    Today was Lucy’s birthday– 10 years old! I stayed up too late wrapping her presents while streaming Malcolm Guide reciting poetry on his YouTube channel.

    We did some schooling, skipping math, but doing read alouds and with some reading practice for Ben, who is becoming a stronger reader, but still needs lots of practice. And Sophie is still needing a lot of scaffolding and so we read some Pride and Prejudice and started the Screwtape Letters, which appeals to her dark side.

    Today’s main project was birthday cake, though. Moist chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.

    And of course birthday presents meant the living room floor became a Lego staging area as Lucy built her new Lego set.

    Writing feels stagnant this week. Everything I turn my hand to feels limp and flabby. Except blog posts and comments, so I guess I’m putting aside attempts at poetry in favor of prose.

  2. Anna Rose Johnson says:

    We want to hear about the new novel that lives in Scrivener!

    I’ve never used Scrivener myself, I’m rather fond of ordinary Microsoft Word. 🙂

    My future WIP currently lives on Pinterest in a visual format, and I’m loving the arrangement of inspirational images.

    • Melissa Wiley says:

      Ooh, project inspiration boards are so much fun. I start them but never remember to go back—somehow Pinterest just never became habitual for me. I have a few images collected on Shooglebox for this book, but mostly it lives in my notebook. Not a bit pretty. 🙂

      • Anna Rose Johnson says:

        I keep notebooks for each project too! This is actually my first time using Pinterest and I’m enjoying it. But whatever method works for you is great–perfect aesthetics aren’t requirements for a writer’s inspiration!

  3. Amy says:

    Lovely palette! I like the way your brain works. 🙂

    One of my daughters loves Scrivener – I have never given myself the chance to use it because you had to *gasp* pay money and I didn’t consider myself writer enough to “deserve” it. I am learning to tell my inner critic to shut up on a regular basis now and may give it a go soon.

    On tap today: walking my virtual Camino de Santiago pilgrimage (at less than half a mile every other day it will only take me 1924 days 😀 ), making soup, helping my daughter recover from wisdom teeth extraction. Hopefully napping, lol.

    Can’t wait to hear about your new novel!

    • Amy says:

      Ugh I used an apostrophe to pluralize. Gah. I usually don’t care about my grammatical faux pas or misspellings but that one drives me nuts. Everyone stick your finger over it so you can’t see it. 😉

    • Melissa Wiley says:

      Amy, I keep reading “Camino de Santiago” as Carmen Sandiego, which would be a whole different kind of pilgrimage.

      I fixed your typo so it won’t bug you anymore.

  4. Katie @ The Cozy Burrow says:

    I’ve loved seeing your posts pop up in my reader these last few days! I am fascinated by Scrivener but haven’t taken the plunge yet. I tried the free sample but was overwhelmed by it and didn’t want to spend my precious writing time trying to learn how to use something new… but it seems like it’s worthwhile! I love your color scheme in the opening picture — I also like to work with things that are pretty 🙂