Write Simpler, Use Scrivener

How to Self-Edit your Novel using Scrivener and the Story Grid: Part 1

Part 1 of 3: The Set-Up

Randall Surles
The Story Ninja
Published in
6 min readAug 16, 2021
Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

This is part 1 of 3 articles that will show you how I set up Scrivener when I edit a client’s book for developmental editing using the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne.

Here is what the three articles contain:

Part 1 — The Set-Up

  • How I set up Scrivener to edit or write a new manuscript — My Way
  • How I incorporate the Story Grid guidance inside Scrivener
  • How I incorporate other writings methods
  • Using a Global Value Tracker

Part 2 — Using and setting up Metadata

  • A new way to use Metadata to track the Story Grid 5 Commandments for each scene
  • Using Metadata to Track the Literal and Essential Action as well as Value shifts
  • Review of tracking Story Grid Spreadsheet Data using Metadata
  • And We’ll review the export feature that allows you to export all your Metadata into an excel spreadsheet that resembles the Story Grid Spreadsheet Shawn Coyne uses

Part 3 — Collections and Keywords

  • Using Keywords to track Sub-Plots
  • Using Collections to Track Main Characters, Locations, and Unique Elements
  • Using synopsis to Track Beats

These topics have been the most frequently asked questions about my method.

Now, let’s get started with the most dynamic duo since Batman and Robin, Scrivener and the Story Grid!

Setting Up the Scrivener Binder — My Way

The first thing I do is set up the Binder. Here is a screenshot of my template that I use whenever I’m about to start writing a new story or begin editing a new manuscript that someone submitted to me.



Randall Surles
The Story Ninja

Retired Army Ranger and Green Beret, Digital Nomad, Author, Developmental Editor. Find out more at www.randysurles.com.