Scrivener and Scene Summaries

Do you keep track of your scenes? Do you summarize what’s in a scene. I used to use a spreadsheet exclusively to do this until I discovered I can use Scrivener. (I still use a spreadsheet for a more complete list that I can sort.)

In Scrivener, for each scene I note:

  • Chapter Number
  • Name of Scene
  • Point of View
  • Point of Scene
  • Tension
  • Revelation
  • Hook – ask yourself: why would a reader keep reading?
  • Character introduction and description
  • Date and Time of Day
  • Scene Description
  • Scene Dependency
  • Other – anything I want to remember. This could be a scene I want to add later. A description that needs updating. Just little reminders I still have word to do.

How does this relate to Scrivener, you ask?

I created a template in Scrivener by copying the relevant cells from and Excel spreadsheet and pasting them into a newly created template in Scrivener.

Then for each scene I insert the template underneath and to the right of the scene so I have the template linked to each scene. As I review each scene, I fill out the template. If I can’t fill out a line then I know I have work to do.

You can choose to compile the scene template with your novel or leave it out. If I’m printing a draft version, I might print the scene template so I can work on paper for a while. If I’m compiling and I only want the novel, I unclick the Include-In-Compile button.

It’s fun to discover new techniques to work with. Always, always learning . . .

Do you have information you keep track of for each scene that helps you make the scene better?

Thanks for reading . . .

I wrote a blog with my review of the Scrivener software that might help…

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7 thoughts on “Scrivener and Scene Summaries

  1. This is actually very similar to the way I work, now that I’ve updated my Scrivener to 2.x and gone through some revisions. I keep my templates in the research area right now, but I really like your idea of tacking them inside the actual draft! I don’t use the Inspector much yet–there don’t seem to be enough lines for all the things I note down, although I do use the index cards. One thing I also do is list any important props in the scene. I like to follow the important ones through the story.

    (And I love reading about how other people use Scrivener. I can always use some new ideas! 🙂 )

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  2. The thing about putting them with the draft is they can be printed and then put in a binder with the scene. Then when I review on paper I can make notes. Sometimes I like to work with a paper copy instead of the computer.

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  3. I know this comment doesn’t relate directly to your blog, but I’m following Scrivener discussions with great interest and some trepidation. It seems a complex and powerful software. I’ve tried using the built in instructions, but I found them confusing. So, I’ll start out learning how to use the scene cards. I’ve given myself a month to learn enough basic skills to begin writing my novel. Given the different learning curve for each person does a month sound reasonable?

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    1. Hi Nancy,
      A month does sound reasonable. It takes time to change work habits. I started with one function at a time. I put in a chapter with multiple scenes so I could see what I ended up with. When I got comfortable with the basics, I moved on to other functions. I think the software is worth the effort. I can’t imagine writing without it now.
      I love the ability to move scenes easily and to find earlier scenes when I want to reference something. I still use Excel, but not as often. I hope this helps. I wrote a detailed review of the software a while ago and I’ll find the link to that and update with post. Kristina

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