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Writing tools for complex storytelling

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Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Feb 27, 2012 at 12:37 PM


Dr Andus wrote:
>Basically I’ve written 40,000 words, of which
>maybe only 6000 will end up in the targeted 30,000 words. So I’m just wondering if there
>is a clever way to do this. Now that I know that my challenge is to weave together 5
>storylines, I need a tool that helps me not to lose focus again and be better at
>suppressing and NOT writing the unnecessary parts of the stories. 

I hope that you have found what you needed with Scrivener’s Collections, but in case you didn’t (and for others with similar projects but not on Scrivener), here’s how I would go about it with my Brainstorm http://www.brainstormsw.com/

Brainstorm has the rather unique feature of Namesakes which are automatically discovered identical texts or clones; for this work the automatic discovery itself will not be needed though.

(1) Copy the full text to Brainstorm, preferably under one heading per chapter.
(2) Create 5 “Mark” points under separate headings to represent the 5 storylines
(3) Go through the text and for each paragraph press Ctrl+Shift+N where N is the number (1-5) of the storyline to which that paragraph pertains. This will create a Namesake copy of the paragraph under the relevant storyline.

At the end of the above procedure, each paragraph will exist under the main text and its corresponding storyline. Selecting a paragraph and clicking on the left or right arrow will show the paragraph in its alternative positions. I could then

(4) Develop each storyline further
(5) Create a new heading representing the new ‘surface’ text and add a Mark point underneath.
(6) Copy the bits to be included in the new text to that Mark (same as above)

I believe that the process should be faster with Brainstorm than just about anything else. That said, I wrote my MBA dissertation (<20,000 words) with Brainstorm and have found it crashing with very big texts making extensive use of namesakes. I think the problem is when one is editing a Namesake and the program tries to Autosave. However, Autosave itself is very reliable.