Behind the Scenes of 7YR: Our Book Writing Tools
It takes a lot of dedication to write a book. It’s a major undertaking! Co-authoring a book has its advantages, but also adds a new layer of complexity, especially when the co-authors live far apart, as my mom and I do. Are you curious about how we’re doing it?
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the writing tools my mom and I are using to co-write our book, Seven Years Running.
Our book lives in Scrivener. I’ve heard a number of other authors talk about it, so I decided to try it for myself, and I’m so glad I did! It’s feature-rich and there’s a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it there’s no better way to organize your work if you’re writing a full-length book in any genre.
Scrivener allows me to organize our research (old letters, documents, journals, FBI file, etc, which we are using to help us write the book) as well as all the parts of the book, and easily move the parts of the story around as needed as we put everything together.
The software also has a “snapshot” feature that allows me to save a document before I make major changes to it. That way, if I don’t like my changes, I can easily revert to a previous snapshot!
We had originally started writing this book in Microsoft Word, and I can’t even imagine doing that now. Scrivener makes everything so much easier, and was a very worthwhile investment. There is one drawback, though. We can’t work in Scrivener simultaneously! So what to do when you have a co-author?
Enter Google Docs!
When my mom wants to work on a particular section of the book, or when we want to work on something together, I cut and paste the relevant chapter from Scrivener into a Google Doc, and we work on it there. When we’re finished, I paste the edited chapter back into Scrivener.
Google Docs is great because one of us can write and another one can come right along behind and edit or make suggestions. Or we can simultaneously work on different areas in the same chapter. If Scrivener could just create a feature like this, it would be the perfect writer’s software program.
The other nice thing about Google Docs is that it’s free!
And the other piece of the puzzle: how do we communicate with each other as we’re collaborating on a chapter? Skype, of course.
With Skype, we can talk through our scenes, brainstorm, and work together on our book. Sometimes we use it while working in Google Docs. Other times it makes more sense for me to share my screen and we will work together on something inside Scrivener.
We typically put in a few hours on the book during the week, around our other jobs and client projects. Then we spend several hours working together on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The system seems to work well for us!
Do you have any other useful tools you would recommend for our project? Do you think you might work on a similar project yourself someday? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
And of course, if you haven’t read the free chapter from our book yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up for book updates and get the first chapter of our book for free! Updates come to your inbox once a week or less—no indiscriminate spamming, I promise. Just enter your email below!