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Scrivener and Story Genius (link to template)

It’s well established that Scrivener is a great tool for writers. You might not be aware of how well it integrates with other writing tools and systems. For this, there are Scrivener templates.

A template is a collection of Binder items that are arranged and pre-filled with content to help you on your way. I’ve downloaded many templates over the years, and there’s only one I keep coming back to.

It’s the one Gwen Hernandez made from Lisa Cron‘s STORY GENIUS book. Gwen wrote a great introductory post to go with it, and you can find both over at Writer Unboxed.

Using Scrivener with Story Genius

In STORY GENIUS, Lisa Cron guides the writer through developing deep backstory for the main character(s) before you start to write. She builds on the concept of the psychic wound, or as she call it, the misbelief a character has that is holding them back. Finally, she provides a template for scene by scene notes, which makes sure you relate everything back to that misbelief.

It’s a pretty damn great book, and I recommend it. (Amazon)

Gwen Hernandez did the work of translating those concepts into Binder organization. Her prompt text is so clear I almost never have to haul out the book to clarify something.

What I really like is the way the template encourages you to think about scene cards. There are 3 main folders to work in:

Thank you to Gwen Hernandez!

The red notebook, Random Scene Cards, is for collecting ideas. You can put cards in a rough order, but you’re not wedded to anything.

I recently had an ‘aha!’ moment, by connecting this notebook to what Holly Lisle calls ‘candy bar scenes.’ She advises making a list of all the scenes you want to write, the ones that are like candy. And then doing your best to only write candy bar scenes with as little filler as possible. If you’re excited, the reader will be excited, too.

The green notebook is where you work on scenes in earnest. This is where you make Lisa Cron’s special scene cards, flesh things out, and play with the order of the cards. You still have the red notebook to draw on, and save stuff to. It’s nice to have them both going at the same time.

Like most Scrivener templates, the topmost folder is for the Manuscript itself. Again, you still have the work you did in the previous two folders, so you can make a decision partway through to relegate something back to Random Scene Cards, or pull out a Random Scene Card and insert it into the manuscript. You have everything you need close to hand.

So that’s how I’ve been working on my projects, lately, through this template. Huge thanks to Gwen for putting in the work to create a template!! And applause for Lisa Cron, whose book is doing a lot of writers a lot of good.

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