Two Ways for Tracking Important Elements of Your Story

You’re writing your story in multiple point of view. How do you keep track of how many scenes you have in each POV?

Your story has a specific time frame. How do you track your scenes to ensure you follow that timeline?

Maybe your story takes place in 5 different cities. How can you ensure you’re in the right place?

Today, I’m going to look at 2 ways for tracking important elements of your story and how you can see them at a glance.

Tracking in Scrivener with Custom Labels

First, let’s look at how to track our story elements in Scrivener (my favorite writing software).

Tracking Story Elements Using Excel

If you don’t use Scrivener, you can create a document in Excel.

Create the categories you want to track and enter the information as you build your story. To view specific categories apply a filter.

tracking story elements in Excel

To apply a filter, select a category, e.g. Scene, then click on Sort and Filter in the top right of Home ribbon. Select filter in the drop down menu.

To filter information, click on the down arrow in a category. Select what you want.

MS Excel filter

Here’s a look at more scenes filtered for those occurring in Omaha (below). As you can see, Scenes 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, and 10 all occur in Omaha.

filtered for location

Some writers I know use a regular calendar for tracking their story’s time line. That’s a terrific tool if all you need is the day/date.

However, for tracking specific hours, POV, or other elements particular to your story, using Excel or the Scrivener labels offers more flexibility. In the image below we can see that 2 scenes occur on Day 1 at 9 a.m., where they happen and whose POV the scene is in.

MS Excel filtered for day 1

Do you track important elements of your story? What are they and how do you track them? Leave your comments below.

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