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  1. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Evernote Templates

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Xoic, Feb 23, 2020.

    Hope I'm posting this in the right place, the templates are all focused on plot development (or character development, oops!)

    At the end of McKee's Story he recommends creating a Step Outline to really build your plot from the inside out as he says. He recommended doing it on 3x5 cards, but I wanted to see if there's any kind of software or templates for it. After a bunch of Googling (actually Bing-ing, not to be confused with bingeing) I found this page of Evernote templates for creative writing.

    Here's how to use templates in case you're as clueless as I was. I love Evernote, but never tried templates before.

    There isn't one called a Step Outline (or Beat Sheet, another term for the same thing), but the Novel Chapters one looks like it can be used quite nicely. I went ahead and grabbed them all, haven't actually tried working with them yet but I'll probably update after I have.

    I couldn't figure out which notebook it was downloading them to, but here's a quick way to find out—on the Evernote website your account shows up and each time you download another template it shows up there. You can click one of the little icons at the top of the note to move it to your shortcuts, and when you click on the shortcut link (on your computer) it opens the notebook it's in. I made a new notebook called Templates as recommended and just moved them all into it.

    The templates are easy to edit, you can add columns across or down or remove some if you want. You can also easily expand columns or contract them just by grabbing the edge and dragging. Extremely flexible and scalable. Plus change the headings to whatever you want. Basically they're just tables, but any time I've tried to make my own tables it ended up a disaster.

    Here's a page with downloadable PDF samples of step outlines for some pretty well-known movies (and a few less well-known). Plus the page explains what they are and how to make them/use them. But I think this was where I read that step outlines are absolutely not to be used for creating a script (or story)—only after the movie is made in order to study the beats. Strange, I guess opinions vary. But I do agree it's best to make a step outline after you've already got a pretty decent idea of your story. As I said, I've already been developing mine for some time now, it's time to get it organized.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
  2. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I've just about filled in the Story Premise template now, and I added a line across the top for typing in the premise itself as a single sentence—easy as pie (strangely, they didn't have a slot for that).

    I can see this is going to revolutionize my story development. Till now I've been just writing big notes every day, but can't keep track of changes, and the idea of looking back through massive notes from the last month or so is daunting to say the least. Now I plan to keep developing it the same way, but update the templates as my ideas evolve, so I have everything organized and close at hand.

    I do find I develop my ideas best by writing freeform about them, which can end up filling many pages in a day, and I've been needing some flexible way to get the ideas down where I can always see them clearly. This seems like a pretty decent poor man's Scrivener to me.
     
  3. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I just downloaded the trial version of Scrivener and discovered the Evernote templates can be dropped right into a Scrivener folder and used just as you would in Evernote. The one I tried came through a little collapsed, but I just had to grab the sides and pull them out again, good as new.

    EDIT—I see the right border doesn't show up in Scrivener, and while you can drag the sides to expand or compress sections of the templates, you can no longer add new columns. If you really want to you could make whatever adjustments are necessary in Evernote and then drag it into Scrivener, but it isn't ideal.

    Something tells me there are excellent and completely customizable Scrivener templates though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
  4. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Well, from today's flurry of searches it seems the tables in Scrivener are extremely primitive and there's nothing you can really do about it. That's disappointing. I've been messing around with a table and it's like banging my head on the wall. The Evernote templates are way better! I think for now I'll be using Evernote for those but Scrivener for the rest.

    Well actually I won't start writing in Scrivener yet, until I actually buy it. Otherwise whatever I write there will be inaccessible as soon as the free trial ends. But I'll experiment with taking something written in another program and importing it, just to see how that goes.
     
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  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    And once you do start playing with Scrivener, know the following: In Scrivenerese, template means something utterly different. It means the layout of your entire binder, the features and types of divisions you pick to use. It's a word you encounter more when you learn that there are lots of Scrivener templates that are flexed in directions other than creating a manuscript.

    ETA: Example - https://www.writingforums.org/resources/world-building-leviathan.238/
     
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  6. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Yeah, I discovered that this morning when all I found searching for templates were pictures of the corkboard etc, so I upgraded my search term to Tables. Really, in a sense, the corkboard is a table, but it has super-wide borders where you can see the cork. Nifty, but useless. I'd rather have a much more functional and adaptable table.

    I'm starting to think all I really need for a good, dynamically rescalable beat sheet is a numbered list, so if you add or subtract a beat the numbers automatically update and you don't have to go through the entire file and manually change them all. I'm sure Scrivener can do that (but then, I was sure it had amazing Tables too... :confuzled:)

    For the rest of the templates I think I'll stick with Evernote at least for now.

    But I can already see that, for what it does, Scrivener is amazing. I just wish it did a few other things better is all. I'll definitely be buying it. Would be incredible if it was the perfect all-in-one writing solution, but not yet.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
  7. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I don't like using numbered lists for a step outline/beat sheet. Too many issues. So I created a nested set of folders in Scrivener's Binder instead. Works way better.

    Still some of the Evernote templates are good. I'm using the Story Premise one and will probably adapt and use a couple more as well. But Scrivener is really starting to grow on me.
     

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