Monday, November 9, 2009

Plan/Plot Your Novel with yWriter5

So you have downloaded the yWriter5 program as discussed in the previous post, installed it on your computer and now you are ready to start using it. First of all you need to create a new project. Click on the project tab on the left and select New Project Wizard from the drop down menu.

Fill in all the details required by the wizard and return to the main screen. Now you need to add a short summary of your novel (think of the book blurb on the back of a novel) to the project notes so you keep your writing focused and on track. On the main screen at the right hand side you will notice the tab "Project Notes". Click on the tab and select "New".

 Save the note you made there and click on the "Chapter" tab on top and select "Create Multiple Chapters" from the drop-down menu. A screen will pop-up asking how many chapters you want to create. Enter the amount and the chapters will be created in the left side pane of the view.

Next you want to create a number of empty scenes for each chapter. Click on the "Scenes" tab on the top and select "Create multiple scenes". Insert the number of scenes you want to add per chapter and repeat for each chapter. You can always add more scenes or delete scenes later.

Click on the "Project" tab on top and select "Project Settings" from the drop- down menu. In the pop-up box , enter the name of your project in the Project tab and if you wish, enter a short description of the project/book there. Move to the next tab and inset the author name. In the "Deadlines" tab you can enter the dates you want to finish with each part of the novel writing process.

 This is important if you have a deadline to submit the novel to an editor (I wish) or a publisher. Next from the "Tools" tab on top, select "Daily Word Count Target" and fill in the amount of words you want to write, in other words the length of your novel and when you want to start and when you want to complete the first draft. The yWriter program will then calculate how many words you have to write per day to stay on target.

Now that you know how many words you have to write per day, you can start planning your novel. This you can do in various ways. You can first create your characters in the characters tab and add detail to each character or you can start planning the chapters (the story) and add the character detail as you write the draft. Having the details of the characters listed under the character tab helps you later in the novel to avoid inconsistencies in appearance, character traits, etc. The same reasoning applies to the locations tab and the locations where your novel takes place.

Write a short description for each chapter. What is the purpose of the chapter? Think of ten or fifteen questions you want answered in the chapter and formulate that into scene descriptions. In the long descriptions write three or more keywords to remind you what you wanted in the scene.

Once the outline is done, you can begin to actually write the novel by clicking on the scene and entering the text into the text box. This I will deal with in the next post.

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