Gouge Your Eyeballs Out and Shuffle the Deck

For the majority of 2015, I was obsessed with a new novel. It looks like I will continue to be drowning in this same project for at least a couple more months. I am, of course, speaking of my much anticipated (by my parents) hotel novel, No Sleep ‘Til Dying.

It’s turned into an absolutely insane book that I have to admit I no longer have any control over. It’s currently sitting at 66,000 words, but that’s after many rewrites and edits. Last week, while aimlessly scrolling through various chapters, wondering how to fix the many things that I’m not satisfied with yet, I came to the realization that the pacing in the novel is dogshit.

The problem is, I wrote No Sleep ‘Til Dying entirely out of sequence. I created the puzzle pieces before knowing what order they’d go in or what kind of image they’d create once they were connected. For example: I didn’t write the first chapter until last night. I am a man of constant chaos, and I do not recommend it.


The novel is (well, was) split up into three, mostly standalone sections.

Bad writer, bad!

The solution was easy. I needed to edit the manuscript and merge all three sections. These different plots are all part of family, so why was I so adamant on forcing them into different homes? Now, under other circumstances, the road ahead would send me into a cold sweat. But, this book is different than any other book I’ve written: I wrote it on the greatest goddamn program ever invented.


With Scrivener, you can easily organize each scene and drag them before and after other scenes.So, if you think the owl keeper should have died before Pablo bought a mocha latte at Starbucks, then simply drag your “The death of the owl keeper” file on top of your “Pablo gets refreshed with a tasty beverage” file, and once you convert the final draft into a doc file, everything is peachy.

Instead of many, many hours of exhausting rewrites, all I had to do was drag various scenes from parts two and three and merge them into  part one, into spaces where the content made the most sense to be introduced. I’m not saying the reordering is close to done, of course. I still need to go back through the book and make sure I’m not referencing shit that hasn’t even happened yet. But Scrivener has definitely saved me a lot of time, and for that I am forever in its debt.

On second thought, I paid for that fucking program, so I owe it nothing.

Anyway, if you want a super convenient program to write novels on, I highly recommend you go pick yourself up a copy. It’s only $45.

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