Combining Two Rough Drafts into One Novel - Part 3

This is the last post regarding combining two rough drafts into one novel. The first one can be found here and the second, here. It's been a heck of a struggle, but I'm happy now with what I'm considering the rough draft of Letting Go (working title). Some difficulties I ran into were: characters (names, ages, descriptions, etc.) Thankfully (?) I'm not very descriptive in my rough drafts so it wasn't too hard to change those things. I did have some problems with getting the names right throughout. For example, using "Find and Replace" to change "Matt" into "Lance" resulted in several places that said, "What really Lanceers is..."

Looking on the bright side, I now realize that I overused the phrase "What really matters," in dialogue.

This was the first time in quite a while that I've actually used scissors and tape to cut sections of the manuscript up and move it around. I probably should have used Scrivener, but I was being stubborn and didn't want to fight with software. That's a mistake that wasted a lot of time for me. Today, after I made all the changes in Pages, I copied and pasted all the new text into Scrivener. I should have just left it in Scrivener and figured out how to make it do what I wanted.

Now that I have a rough draft of one story, I'm letting it sit for a few days before I start my normal revision process. While it sits, I have a notepad nearby so I can scribble any ideas that pop into my head. This way, I might have things sorted out in my head when I start to mark up the next revision. I know many areas are skimpy on details and I add things throughout my revision process.

Combining Two Rough Drafts into One Novel

Hoo boy! I've decided to combine two rough drafts into one novel. I currently have about 300 pages from the manuscripts printed out and have to figure out how I'm going to make this into one cohesive novel. I've spent days online trying to find a guide how to do this. Apparently, no one else has ever had the brilliant idea of combining two rough drafts into one novel. So, here ya go. A guide of how I'm doing it. I'm sure I'll make mistakes, but maybe if I warn you of those mistakes you won't make the same when you find yourself in this position.

First off, I suppose you're curious why I decided to combine the two. I have a few different reasons.

  1. Both female characters are about the same age, have issues with their families, and aren't happy until they reconnect with someone from their past. 
  2. I couldn't decide which of them I wanted to work on more at this time.
  3. I was afraid that either of them would fall a little short of my expectations, but I believe combining them would be a well-rounded story (if I do this correctly).
  4. And last but not least, I'm afraid of writing the same story repeatedly. It seems that several of my rough drafts are similar enough (at least to me) that I'd essentially be telling the same story repeatedly, just changing the characters and the setting. What fun would that be for me to write? Or for you to read?

It's been a week since I decided I was going to combine these two stories and I haven't accomplished much.

Today, I declared myself on a "facebook break" for about a week. Hopefully, by the time that week is up, I'll have made substantial progress.

My process so far has been to figure out which characters the combined story will be about, using "Find and Replace" to change those to the correct name (but clearly, there will still be errors to fix during revisions).

I've also imported the two stories into Scrivener and split it all into scenes, marking scenes that have conflict and scenes that are currently boring. (There are a lot of those.) I'm using Darcy Pattison's Novel Metamorphosis as a revision guide, loosely. I'm not doing every exercise in the book (so far). I'm also trying to do some things I learned from Holly Lisle's One Pass Revision system. I always end up with multiple revisions, but I do try to keep an eye out for errors like typos starting at the first pass.

Essentially what I have now is 282 pages of really, really, really rough draft. I printed it all out last night and finally forced myself to start scribbling on the manuscript tonight. So far I'm to page 27. The sad part is that I thought it was pretty good when I decided to do this.

Now, when I have a pen in my hand, I'm not so impressed. Which wouldn't normally bother me, but right now, I'm not even feeling much inspiration or clear direction how to fix that which doesn't impress me. However, I will plow through this and I know as I get further into the story, and get the BIG issues worked out the story will become clearer to me.

And the clearer the story is, the more fun it will be to revise. Or so I hope. I don't even have a working title yet, so there isn't any webpage and no blurb about the story.

I'll post more about my experience combining two rough drafts into one novel as I get further into the revision process.

 

Scrivener Revisited

Okay. I admit it. I was wrong. I'm not 100% sold yet, but I'm still playing with Scrivener and I've found some features I really like that are not available on OneNote. Word count. I love knowing how many words I have in a document. In OneNote, I had to use an Add-on to get word counts, and it still only counted the words on each page, there was no way to count how many words in the "draft" section of my notebook. Scrivener does word counts.

scrivener_text_statsText statistics (click on the picture to see it larger). Scrivener has the ability to tell me how many times I've used each word in a document. As a few people who have read my drafts know, I tend to have a LOT of bobble-heads who like to pat each other and shrug. In Scrivener, I can see that I used "shrug" 78 time in the first chapter and "nod" was used 24 times in the second paragraph.

Targets. It's nice to set a target word count for each scene and see a bar graph change colors as I get closer to reaching my goal.

Corkboard. And everyone's favorite feature of Scrivener, the corkboard, is awesome for rearranging scenes! I assigned a different color label for each of my plot lines and can visually see when all the "red plot lines" are bunched together instead of spread through the entire story. The same could be done with perspectives to see if Character A has more scenes told from their perspective than Character B in any part of the story.

Cross-platform compatibility. I can open my Scrivener projects on either of my computers and make changes. Some features are only available on the Mac version right now, but it's nice to know I can use either of my computers, as long as I keep the files up-to-date on Dropbox (or a similar online storage site). I'm currently using the trial version on both my iMac and my Windows 7 laptop.

If you have the same type of desktop and laptop, you can use the same license for both. If you have different operating systems on your desktop and laptop, you'll have to decide whether it's worthwhile to you to purchase a license for each. Scrivener does provide directions for syncing with SimpleNote on an ipad.

These are just the features that I used over the weekend and really loved. I saw some other stuff in the menus that I think I'll like, but will wait to comment on those until after I've used the feature.

Don't take my word for it, download your own trial version and see what you think. It's available for both Windows and Mac now! Just don't give up if the tutorial confuses you, like I almost did.

And if you decide to buy, S.M. Worth has a coupon code on his blog for 20% off. He also has lots of other great stuff!

Scrivener or OneNote

Are you contemplating whether to purchase Scrivener to plan and write your novel on Windows? You may already have OneNote on your computer. So which should you use, Scrivener or OneNote? I tried Scrivener again last night. I couldn't even make it through the tutorial before I was confused beyond words. I hear there are some neat features on it, but I'm going to stick with OneNote and Word.

Believe me, it's hard to say that since I'm normally not a Microsoft fan. Am I the only one who isn't impressed with Scrivener? I just might not be smart enough for Scrivener.

Edited: I've been revisiting Scrivener and may be changing my mind as I get more comfortable with it.