Scrivener and Scene Summaries

Do you keep track of your scenes? Do you summarize what’s in a scene. I used to use a spreadsheet exclusively to do this until I discovered I can use Scrivener. (I still use a spreadsheet for a more complete list that I can sort.)

In Scrivener, for each scene I note:

  • Chapter Number
  • Name of Scene
  • Point of View
  • Point of Scene
  • Tension
  • Revelation
  • Hook – ask yourself: why would a reader keep reading?
  • Character introduction and description
  • Date and Time of Day
  • Scene Description
  • Scene Dependency
  • Other – anything I want to remember. This could be a scene I want to add later. A description that needs updating. Just little reminders I still have word to do.

How does this relate to Scrivener, you ask?

I created a template in Scrivener by copying the relevant cells from and Excel spreadsheet and pasting them into a newly created template in Scrivener.

Then for each scene I insert the template underneath and to the right of the scene so I have the template linked to each scene. As I review each scene, I fill out the template. If I can’t fill out a line then I know I have work to do.

You can choose to compile the scene template with your novel or leave it out. If I’m printing a draft version, I might print the scene template so I can work on paper for a while. If I’m compiling and I only want the novel, I unclick the Include-In-Compile button.

It’s fun to discover new techniques to work with. Always, always learning . . .

Do you have information you keep track of for each scene that helps you make the scene better?

Thanks for reading . . .

I wrote a blog with my review of the Scrivener software that might help…


Writing a Series: Spreadsheet.

Last week I wrote about writing a series and keeping track of details over several novels, and I was asked about my spreadsheet.

In Keeping Track of Scenes I described the spreadsheet I use for one novel.  It amazes me how much I’ve changed and adapted the spreadsheet as I learn to improve my process. I’ve also added Scrivener to my list of tools, but I still can’t do without a spreadsheet.

In addition to a spreadsheet per novel, I now have a spreadsheet for the series.

The first column of each sheet states which novel the info is for. Then I include the following sheets:


  • names (first and last in separate columns so I can sort by each and make sure none of the names are too similar)
  • relationships
  • ages
  • clothing styles
  • emotional issues and challenges
  • anything I think might be important for the next novel

(I use Scrivener for character history)


  • places used
  • local business and who own them
  • hours of operation for ski lifts or any other business that is in more than one novel.
  • brief description of place
  • important characteristics of place


  • Dates of key events (important in later novel when referring to past)

Hope this helps.
Thanks for reading . . .

Writing a Series

Keeping track of details in one novel can be an overwhelming task. My handy-dandy spreadsheet does the job for me.

But what happens when one novel becomes two and then two become three? And then you make a change in one . . . and it has to be updated in two and then three.

This is enough to drive a person crazy or at least keep them entertained or maybe keep them from sleeping. Who knows?

My solution. As always my spreadsheet. I have now added a new spreadsheet to my collection. I keep one spreadsheet per novel and have found an extra one for details that need to be remembered from one book to the next helps.

I can remember the big details, but what about the ones like an address, a description of a room, a character’s sibling.

Without a spreadsheet I am lost.

Any tips that might help me?

Thanks for reading . . .