I wrote here about my new non-fiction project for Pen And Sword Books, Women’s Lives: Women Of Bristol 1850-1950. This will involve a lot of research and will stretch out over several months, so it’s vital that my work should be well-organized.
Some people are methodical by nature. I’m not, but working with the dedicated writing package Scrivener developed by Literature and Latte makes it easy to keep track of things. Instead of having box files, ring binders filled with notes and jottings on odd bits of paper, I collect everything together in one Scrivener project. Each chapter is given its own file within this Scrivener document, and so far I’ve created other files within it with the main headings of Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Contacts, interviews and Images. Each of these is further sub-divided so in theory, nothing can get lost—unlike notes scribbled on the back of envelopes.
Each time I come across a useful website or find a quote, I can store it in the appropriate information file. Although the manuscript pages of my Scrivener project will only accept text, video and audio links can be stored in other parts of the
I’ve already got general headings for my chapters such as; Education, Work, Family Life, Health, Leisure, and Active Citizens, and I’ll sub-divide these as work progresses. The big advantages of working with Scrivener is that I can summarise each chapter as a synopsis of my ideas. These can then be displayed in Scrivener’s ‘Corkboard’ mode, in the style of index cards. There’s a facility to colour-code each of these, so I can see at a glance where I am—not yet started, notes, first draft, revised draft, completed and so on.
Scrivener has a useful split-screen mode, which comes into its own for cataloguing. While I’m writing or editing a document displayed on the top half of my computer screen, I can add sources or create an index entry on the lower half of the screen.
You can read my top tips for working with Scrivener here.
Finally, if you’ve got any gossip about a woman’s life in pre-1950’s Bristol, I’d love to hear from you! Add a comment below…