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Get Set...Get Ready...It's NaNoWriMo Time!

Rebeca provides users with a tour of the NaNoWriMo template.

As many readers of this blog know Literature and Latte is a sponsor of NaNoWriMo*. We offer a bunch of perks including an extended trial that's set to run through November into the first week of December, a template, and if you successfully complete the first draft of your novel with 50,000 words and over you get a 50 percent discount. And even if you don't reach the target, you can still get 20 percent off Scrivener's regular price by entering the discount code NaNoWriMo in the coupon code text field of our online web store.

 I shared all this information with Joanna while we enjoyed a leisurely Italian meal. As I mentioned in my previous post, Joanna recently discovered NaNoWriMo and wanted to create her own template for her novel. 

"Will you show me how to create a template. I don't want to be fiddling with one the night before NaNoWriMo," she said as she polished off her mussels.

"Before you get yourself involved in developing a complicated template, why not take a look at the one Literature and Latte designed?" I said.

She twisted her mouth to the side and frowned. "What makes you think I make things more complicated.?"

"Because you do. Let's go to my place for dessert, and I'll show you parts of the template. If you really want to build one then we can make some modifications to the one that Literature and Latte provided. You don't need to reinvent the wheel."

"Well, okay...," she said, throwing me a squinty look. 

After we inhaled our dessert, I showed her the NaNoWriMo template and then proceeded to explain how to import a template. [Note: Once again, this post centers on Scrivener 3.0.3. Window users don't despair there are detailed instructions on how to import the template on your computers, which you can find on our NaNoWriMo page]. 

Importing the NaNoWriMo Template

Once the NaNoWriMo project template has been downloaded, go to the "Options" button found at the bottom of the New Project Window. Click on the arrow, a menu will open, click on "Import Templates". 

Find where the template was downloaded (most likely it will be in your download folder). Once it's been imported into Scrivener, you'll find it in the "Fiction" section of the template chooser.

Next open it and save it somewhere for easy access. I tend to save my NaNoWriMo projects on the desktop because I will be writing daily or in Dropbox because I also write on my iPad. 

"What!?!" Joanna shrieked. "Hold on a second. Dropbox? iPad? Is this something I should know about? Do I need an iPad? Is my Air book sufficient for this event?"

"Yes, it's sufficient. We'll talk about Scrivener for iOS when you actually own an iPad, but for now let's continue with what this template looks like. Capisce?"


So now let's take a look at the template and review the sum of its parts.

The NaNoWriMo Project Binder

Project Targets   

The first item that pops out in the binder is the blue information icon labeled as "Novel Format". Read this part first. It advises novice users to take a look at the interactive tutorial, which can be found in the "Getting Started" section of the template chooser when you to to File->New Project or in the project itself under Help->Interactive Tutorial and provides links to the instructional videos as well as the manual which can be found in the "Help" menu.

The next section, "About this Template" goes into detail on what the template provides that will help you write your opus. For this blog post, we'll examine how the binder is structured and what it includes, but, more importantly, what most NaNoWriMo participants stress over: Word Count.

Let's take a peek at "Project Targets", which has already been set up with a manuscript target of 50,000 words. To confirm, simply go to Project->Show Project Targets.  

Joanna pointed at the screen. "Hold on! I thought to reach 50,000 words, we need to write a total of 1,667 per day. Why is the first one showing 1,282?" 

"Glad you asked," I said. "Note that the deadline is November 30, 2018. We're currently viewing the project targets nine days earlier so the daily session is less. As we approach the deadline the number of words will increase." 

To set a daily session goal go to Options, select the Session Target tab. Note that  by default the "Reset session count" is set each day at 1:00 am and the box is ticked to automatically calculate from the draft deadline.  For example, for the second day of NaNoWriMo you've typed 1,667 of 1,667 words and that gets tallied as 3,334 of 50,000 and this will go on until you reach (or surpass) the word count goal, assuming you finish (in Joanna's OCD writing, she'll mostly be done before Thanksgiving. Sorry, Joanna).  

While we're still in the "Session Targets" tab, take a look at "Writing days" where you can select which days you want to write by clicking on them and if you want to write on the deadline day just tick the box that says "Allow writing on day of deadline." Hit OK and you'll be cooking with gas.

If you're on Twitter and want to tell your thousands of followers that you're about to write with the intention of reaching the daily goal tick the box next "Show Twitter button". When you click on the Twitter icon button, a window will open with a preset Tweet, image and hashtag (see, we think of everything!) [Note: This only works with older operating systems. If you're using macOSX 10.14 aka Mojave, Apple has removed Twitter integration].

In addition to the Project Targets feature, there's also a document template. To access it, simply go to Project->New from Template->Daily Target. This document already provides the 1,667 word target. What's the pro in having this feature? Not wasting time to worry about setting the document target and spending time writing (see, we really do think of every small detail).

Inside the Manuscript Folder

So now let's examine the binder's contents, specifically the Manuscript folder.

First item to note is that the Draft folder has been renamed as Manuscript for this template. Don't panic if you see Draft folder in the tutorial or manual, they are one and the same. The Manuscript folder simply includes a Chapter folder and within it a document titled as Scene. This document can be replaced with the Daily Target template. 

Do you need to stick with this structure? No. If you want to structure it with acts, sequences, and scenes as I wrote about my own structure in Developing Your Structure in Scrivener, you can do that. Set this section whichever way that suits your writing style.

Joanna pointed out that she feels that the Character, Places and the Notes folders belong in the Research section. If you don't want to waste time moving things around there's no need, but if your brain works in a compartmentalized manner as Joanna's just drag and drop those folders in the Research section. She also made a couple additions to the Notes folder by adding three subfolders: concept, theme, premise.  

The “Sample Output” folder inside the Research section contains PDFs of documents that have been created by compiling from this template, that include the novel standard manuscript format when compiling to “Manuscript (Courier)” a formatted paperback novel when compiled using the “Paperback (5.06” x 7.81”)” format, and a sample of a “NaNoWriMo (Obfuscated)” that shows the results when compiling to “NaNoWriMo (Obfuscated)”—a completely unreadable file but with the same word and character count as your text. I'll post about compiling your draft closer to the deadline date. For now the focus is to write those 1,667 words with the intention of completing that first draft.

 Lastly, you'll find in the binder templates for character, setting, and the daily target. You can also access these in Project->New From Template. 

A few days after I gave Joanna the rundown on the template, she called from her university office (she's a political historian. Her recent focus has been on white nationalism. So we can probably guess the subject of her NaNoWriMo project). "I played around with that template. Under Manuscript I changed it to how you've structured your novel and then I went ahead and fiddled with compile," she said. 

"I thought we were going to wait for that until you were done writing?"

"I just wanted to get a taste of what's to come. But I discovered something."

"What was that?" I asked.

"I think I complicated matters. So I switched it back to Chapter folder and scene. It should be easier to compile. I'm sending a screenshot of what my binder looks like now. I made some tiny modifications like changing icons, and I added a timeline folder. Otherwise, I'm happy how it looks and I'm ready for November 1st." 

"Well, sort of...," she quickly added, her voice trailing off.

"What do you mean by 'sort of'?"

"I'm kind of stuck on names. At the moment I'm using Adolph, Benito, Francisco and Josef as place holders, but I need help generating names. Can Scrivener do that? What other tricks does it have under it's sleeve?"

"I'll show you that magic the next time I see you."


~To be Continued~

*For more information, just visit our NaNoWriMo page. And one of the best perks is if NaNoWriMo writers need help with the application, we'll be available on the NaNoWriMo forum. Simply go to Forums-> A Special Special Offers & Greetings from NaNo Sponsors->Scrivener: Free during NaNoWriMo & 50% off for winners.


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