NaNoWriMo Prep: Day 5

Scrivener binder

My NaNoWriMo for 2020 starts today. I’m still having weekends off, and I’m still having some long weekends with the poet. This means that my daily target is just under 3,000 words.

I’ll also be a (working) day behind on the blog.  So today’s blog, for example, is where I was at by the end of the last working day.

In this case, unusually, my last working day was actually yesterday, Sunday. Just to show that things are not cast in stone. It should have been Friday, though. But on Friday, I was finishing the second ghostwriting instalment.

Therefore, by the end of the last working day (Sunday), I’d just about finished my longhand prep for the current project.

I don’t claim to be an expert on Scrivener, but I have been messing with it for a few years, and I’ve learnt things as I go along, as I’ve needed them. The below represents that learning so far. When I need to know more, I’ll go and find out how to do it.


The above image is how my Scrivener binder was looking by the end of my prep. I’d not transferred any of the longhand prep to Scrivener by the time this screenshot was taken.

My version is the Windows version. I’ve been playing with the new beta for Windows, and I’m not that happy with it yet. They haven’t released the updated Windows version yet, which we’ll have to pay for again. (Grrr!) But I’m content to stick with the old one while I’m so busy.

The binder

Down the left-hand side of the screen, you can see my main working MARCIE CRAIG COLLECTION binder.  Here you can see that the Book 2 folder is inside the main working binder, but the Books 1 and 3 folders are outside the main working binder.

This is so that any work within the Books 1 and 3 folders don’t accidentally get counted while I work on Book 2. I’d hate to give myself a false impression and end up writing short by the end of things.

The Books 1 and 3 folders are closed, while the Book 2 folder is open.

Within the Book 2 folder is a text document for a sample chapter plus 5 folders, one for NOTES and one for each of the ACTs. I work on a 4-Act basis, but Act 2 is split into Part 1 and Part 2. The book’s midpoint comes at the end of Act 2 Part 1.

The sample chapter is a template that holds my fonts and formatting in one place. If I duplicate that sample chapter text document for each chapter, it’s empty of words, so I don’t get a false word-count again. Until I start to populate it with words.

The sample chapter has a red flag icon. This tells me that I still have to write this chapter. I can change it to a blue flag (or a different coloured flag) or a tick icon (which is actually for “to do”, but it serves me as a tick).

But it means I don’t have to faff with formatting. (Different projects have different formatting.)

Also within the Book 2 folder is a SERIES BIBLE folder. This is where all of my character and location notes are stored over the entire series.

I’ll update this as I go along, adding new characters, new locations, or new details to each, and by the time I’m ready to work on the next book, I can just move the SERIES BIBLE to that folder.

You can also see that the icons for each of the Books is the current book cover. This icon can be changed to whatever you like. Scrivener has a selection you can choose from, or you can go and grab jpegs from elsewhere.

The binder can be open or closed, depending on how you like to work. I like to keep it open because I type in what they call Full Screen Mode anyway.

The corkboard

In the middle of the screen is the corkboard.

Because I currently have Book 2 highlighted, I’ve activated the corkboard to show what’s in there, represented by colour-coded index cards.

As I start to add text documents to the NOTES folder, and as I start to add chapters to the ACTs folders, those single, flat index cards will start stacking up in piles.

Then, when I highlight one of the ACT folders on the left in the binder, if I activate the corkboard, there will be a separate index card for each chapter within that folder.

If I had separate scenes within each chapter, then the Chapter folder would show index cards for all of the scenes on its corkboard.

Some people prefer to work in scenes, and some prefer to work in chapters. Yet others like to work with both. For me, it depends on my mood. I’ve found that working in scenes works really well for me. But at the moment, each of my chapters is a separate scene anyway.

This middle section will change to the document when I’m working on it, or I can look at all of the pages at a time or a selection of consecutive pages at a time, depending on which option I choose.

I can also look at a broad outline in this middle part and easily see that, for example, there is an equal number of viewpoint chapters, or what’s been done (ticked or colour-coded).

(These 3 options are up there on the toolbar, just past the middle of the screen, floating on their own.)

The inspector

The column on the right is what Scrivener calls the inspector. It’s a quick place to change labels, status, what to include in the compile, whether or not to have a page break before the current file, whether to compile the document “as is”.

The new beta Windows version does not have this compile section in the inspector, and I use it ALL THE TIME. Others do too, but from what I can gather on the Forums, Scrivener has no intention of giving us this feature back in the new version.

The index card at the top can be flipped to show the image on one side or any notes on the other.

And then there’s a place to add any project notes.

The inspector can also be open or closed, depending on how you like to work. I like to keep it open because I type in what they call Full Screen Mode, but I can also open up the inspector in Full Screen Mode if I need to remind myself of anything.

Project targets

In this image, I have the Project Targets pop-up open and moved to the side, on top of the project notes part. Actually, I usually keep it open all of the time.

I rarely use the project notes, so it’s a good place to keep my targets in view without the pop-up getting in the way of the typing.

Here is where I can set my daily word-count targets per session, and see how I’m doing overall. I can also only include words that have the compile box checked.

Recently, I discovered that I can also set targets per chapter or scene. But that will keep for another day.

Any questions

And that’s my main binder.

I’ve not touched even a fraction of what Scrivener can do here, just how I start each project.

I can add posts for different aspects as I work through them (and get chance), but if you have any questions in the meantime, do drop them into the comments section where Scrivener may be able to see them too.


I finished the second ghostwriting instalment in reasonable time on Friday. By Saturday morning, my payment had been approved and the date added for completion of the third and final instalment.

There is a bonus short story of around 3,000 words that I have to write at the end, but this has been added to the next and final milestone.

That means, in the next 11 days, I have the final 23,000 words to write. (This was a 60,000-word novella plus bonus story.) I also have the blurb to do too.

I’ve calculated that this works out at just under 2,100 words per day. And that means, with NaNo, that my daily word-count target for at least the next 11 days is just over 5,000 words.

I can do this. On Friday alone I cleared 7,500 words. They might not necessarily be perfect words, but that’s what proofreading is for.

When the ghostwriting gig is complete, and for the rest of November, the daily target will drop down to just under 3,000 words again.

Unless I get another ghostwriting gig in …


On top of the writing, one of my Asian clients is definitely back in the fold, and I have the first article to edit for them too today. They’ve changed the system, though. So I’ll need to get back into the rhythm again.

Fortunately, they know how busy I am and will, hopefully, be more patient.


The whole country goes back into lockdown on Thursday, apart from workplaces and schools. Personally, I think keeping workplaces and schools open makes the whole thing a farce, particularly when the latest spike in new cases coincided with schools opening again.

But hey, what do I know? Whatever, it’s business as usual for me.

Word meters as at 9am today
Ghostwriting Gig #1

40,163/63,000 words. 64% done!

NaNoWriMo 2020

0/50,000 words. 0% done!

(Word meters from Language is a Virus.)