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liliales

Should I continue to use Section Sheets?

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You might have to be very patient with me, because for such a clever person, I am truly terrible at understanding written directions, especially with terminology.

 

I have a shell of a story I've pasted into Storyist. And as I've been adding hashtags to create sections within the chapters, I've learned that I can use the storyboard style in a split screen to add notes to the manuscript section titles, making it an even more "advanced" outline when I switch to that view.

 

I've also got it set to automatically add section sheets for each section and added a few "notes" to them as well, so that if I look at that in outline view, I can have a similar outline side by side with the manuscript text. If I were starting wholly from scratch, I can see doing all these section sheets first. But actually, I'm very comfortable with setting up unwritten chapters, and labeling empty sections within them (in outline or storyboard view,) to go back to and write out. Adding a few key phrases to each of those in storyboard mode so I can see a detailed manuscript outline is a logical next step, for me.

 

In that case, are the section sheets necessary for me at all? I don't like the text view of them, with plot points, antagonists, etc., as I'd prefer to just create plot points and characters in their separate areas, and reference the chapter number or section to them there. I don't link plot points to the section sheets because I've always used them only in the other views (I adore index cards,) in which plot points are not seen. I've had this software for four years, I think, yet still wish to bend it to my simple-minded will.

 

The point is, it is entirely possible I haven't discovered a much more compelling use for section sheets (other than the fact that it's just fun they're linked to manuscript sections) and need to be guided in that respect. Otherwise, I kind of like just outlining using two different manuscript views.

 

I have edited to add a screenshot.

post-2040-0-06002300-1352670210_thumb.jpg

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Hi, Liliales:

For what it's worth, I have a similarly ambivalent attitude toward section sheets. I do find their text view useful during revisions, as a quick check that each scene actually has only one POV, some kind of conflict (or, occasionally, resolution of conflict from a previous scene), a protagonist and an antagonist, etc. Even then, I tend to fill out a couple of dozen of them and then forget about the rest. I don't even create them until I get to that point (that is, I turn off the default setting, in part because having all those empty sheets staring at me freaks me out). Instead I use plot points and character sheets to track overarching developments as I need them.

 

So I think if you have a way of working that suits you, and one that's been working for four years, you've answered your own question. But at least you know the sheets are there if you later decide you need them.

 

And welcome to the forums, after four years with Storyist!

Best,

Marguerite

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I appreciate your answer, Marguerite. Since I'd never just pasted (18k words of) a story in before (had dead Mac for awhile, had to use sadder means to write, long story,) I found myself confronting it sort of in reverse. And that got me to thinking whether I've just been doing it "wrong" all this time. I mean, missing out on something crucial just because I didn't understand how it works?

 

This is because I feel like there are probably a number of things I'm not taking full advantage of. But when I read about it all here, I tend to feel like I'm reading Aramaic. ...weak joke...

 

I will say this; I missed Storyist so much while I couldn't use it, I bought a corkboard and colored index cards, and made offline Storyist... and now I'm adding it all into the manuscript on the computer.

 

Perhaps the section sheets will come in handy as I reoutline the second half of the story this week, because I just now learned I can edit the sections to hold a different type of contents? And then those would be linkable to chapter sections? I'd appreciate a link to more detailed discussion of that, if there is any.

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I don't think there is a right or wrong way to use Storyist. Since there are as many different types of writers as there are writers, it includes various features from which you can pick and choose.

 

Writers also change over time. I used to use section sheets and not plot points; now I do the reverse, most of the time.

 

Section sheets work especially well for plotters, who sketch out their entire story before they begin to write. I am not a plotter, even though I have learned that I can build a plot faster and stay on track better if I construct a rough outline first. So for me, the section sheets work best as places to hold notes and summaries while I am writing the first draft and to check that I haven’t gone too far off the rails when that rough draft is done. But in three novels I have never filled in a full set of section sheets.

 

You can create custom fields in the section sheets and display those in place of the defaults (protagonist, antagonist, conflict). Is that what you mean? There are instructions on how to do that on the forums and, I think, in the application help files/manual. Just run a search for "custom fields."

Best,

M

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I just meant I didn't know you could go to section sheet preferences and ask it to show text or scenes or characters in the collection, instead. I guess only actual section sheets can be linked to chapter sections, though.

 

I have read the manual, twice. And I do a lot of searches here. But I'm still trying to nail down what can and cannot be done with these things, especially now that I'm adding them in reverse. For some reason, it's taken me all this time to understand it'll still come out all right if I don't use everything with its default presentation.

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