A Rainbow of Revisions

I’m in the process of designing a few new courses one that is related to research, another that’s specifically geared for citations, and another one solely on revising.

Today I’ll show you how I go about with my revisions in Scrivener. It’s a little repetitive so bear with me.

Below is the first chapter in Julius. I’ve revised this chapter so often I’ve lost count. However, it’s been a while since I worked on it, and now that I look at it again it does need some cutting and tightening up.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 2.20.25 PM

What you see in the image is the Binder with my scenes in Part One. Each one is color-coded by POV. I have selected in the Editor the page layout of WYSIWYG. In the Inspector, I have my synopsis, the POV, and the Status. No notes.

The first item on my revision agenda is to take a snapshot of this scene:

1. Select a document in the Binder, Corkboard, or Outliner.

2. Go to Documents->Snapshots->Take Snapshots of Selected Documents. You’ll see in your binder, the text file icon has a folded corner, indicating that it has one or more snapshots. The snapshots icon in the Inspector’s footer will have an asterisk that indicates content.

To view the snapshot, click on the Snapshot icon in the Inspector or view it via Documents->Snapshots->Show Snapshots.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 2.42.12 PM

I named the snapshot Alvah Watches Part 1. I typically remember what version I’m working on, but I promised myself to become obsessive-compulsive with keeping track of revisions. Now I’m going back to my general data and editing the Status so I know I started this revision on May 12, 2015. This step is optional, but if the revision process is long, you might want to do this to keep track.

An aside: Before I get any further, if you’re a track changes aficionado, you will be disappointed. If you like pretty colors, as I do, you’ll be as happy as a leprechaun riding on a unicorn.

Next, go to Format and select Revision Mode. The first revision will be in red.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 2.58.30 PM

Once I’m in revision mode, a window will pop open, alerting me that I’ve entered this mode and that my revisions will appear in the color selected.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 2.58.39 PM

As I edit my text, I decide I want to move a paragraph. I copy it and move it to its new spot, and use the strikethrough function (Format->Font->Strikethrough) from where I had it originally.

After I’m done with the red revision I take another snapshot and name it Alvah Watches Part 1 Red revision (Scrivener also provides a date and time of when the snapshot was taken).

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 3.25.54 PM

I’m not quite satisfied and want to make another revision. Back I go to Revision Mode, and I select the blue for my next round. I make my changes, edits, and take another snapshot.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 3.47.20 PM

I want to tweak it one more time. I select the green color for the third revision. When I’m done, I take another screen shot and name it.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 4.05.21 PM

Next I want to remove all my revisions. I go to Format->Revision Mode-> Remove Revisions. What’s leftover is the crossed out text. I delete that and take one final snapshot. Now I have a record of each revision via snapshots.

I change the status of the text to Done and create a Collections file labeled as Revised Copy.

And here it is:

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 4.56.51 PM

It’s shorter, tighter and has Alvah’s distinct voice.

What’s your revision process in Scrivener?

  11 comments for “A Rainbow of Revisions

  1. shrumpkin
    May 12, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Thank you so much for this very informative take on Scrivener’s revision colors. I’ve been working on the same manuscript for far too long, and didn’t know the “right” way to tackle revisions, since I have become quite used to tracking changes in various word processors (I use NisusWriter Pro). When I learned that Scrivener’s revision feature really isn’t a full-blown tracking changes feature, I never gave it a full chance, figuring it was too much work. 

    You’ve shown me the light! 

    I now see that this method can be much better than tracking changes: we have complete manual control over the entire process!

    I will definitely take this way of working on for myself.

    Thanks a billion!

  2. May 12, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    shrumpkin  Thank you and you’re welcome!
    I use Nisus Writer Pro as well (love it and tell everyone with a Mac to dump Word or OpenOffice). I started to use revision mode pretty recently and I began to see how intuitive it was. It’s just like if you were revising on paper and using a red pen, but a little neater since you don’t have circled text and arrows. And what better way to save all those revisions with snapshots! So much neater than creating another text file clog up the binder.

  3. bpcarter
    May 13, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks for the great write up.Looks like a great way to approach the revision process!

    I’m running Scrivener on Windows, and I don’t see that option. Do you know if it’s available on Scrivener for Windows?

  4. May 15, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    bpcarter  Windows, unfortunately, doesn’t have this feature yet. However, you can manually change the color of the fonts for your revisions and note it in general meta-data. First Revision Red; Second Revision Blue; Third Revision Green. You do have the strike-through in Format->Fonts. So you could use that for crossing out text. And you can do the Snapshots for each revision to keep a record of it.

  5. bpcarter
    May 15, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks for the response! Hopefully will see that feature in a future version, seems like a low friction approach in revision.  Do you know if there’s a place where I can make a feature request to the dev team?

  6. May 15, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    bpcarter  If you go to the Literature and Latte’s site and to their forums (you need to register for that) there’s a wish list they moderate. From what I’ve read, everything that’s on the Mac will be available to Windows users. I think that both platforms will be equal before the end of the year.

  7. bpcarter
    May 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    RebecaSchiller bpcarter Perfect, Thanks! Looking forward to it, can’t wait to use this process for my next book!

  8. shrumpkin
    May 15, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    RebecaSchiller shrumpkin Yes! I tell all my Word-loving friends about NisusWriter Pro—most of them think I’m nuts. 🙂 I totally agree with your assessment of this revision process being like old pen and paper without the clutter. Keep up the great work, Rebeca.

  9. shrumpkin
    May 26, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Rebecca,

    I was wondering when you will be offering your course for revising in Scrivener.

    Thank you,

  10. May 26, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    shrumpkin  I’m thinking around mid-July.

  11. shrumpkin
    May 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    RebecaSchiller shrumpkin
    Great. Looking forward to it.

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