I’m putting the final polish on a thriller. After one of my readers (who’s a writer I respect) suggested my pacing needed some tuning. As in, I needed to have some catch-your-breath scenes after rising action. I found a few examples on pacing and Scrivener like here -> http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/2009/11/nano-tip-13-pace-charts/ but I wanted to learn the meta data feature in Scrivener to see if I could make it more useful.
First, I added a couple of fields: Characters and Tension
I then went through each scene and added a relative tension number – between 1 and 12. This number is completely arbitrary as it could mean tension, action, threat etc. In a romance, you could use this for romantic tension.
Then I went to the Outline view ( you will have to resize the window to bring the other columns into view
And then show the two new fields you created.
This gives you a view of scenes/characters/tension
Then FILE-> export
Now things get a little tricky as Scrivener doesn’t yet have any kind of a way to number scenes.
Open the CSV file in Excel or Open Office or any other spreadsheet program and do some cleanup.
Add a scene number to each scene ( 1,2,3 etc) then Remove all the columns EXCEPT for the scene # and Tension
It’s a little more manual at this point.
In excel DELETE each row that is NOT a scene ( it might be a name of a folder or chapter)
Make sure the row below moves up as you delete the previous row.
Your spreadsheet should start to look like this.
Then make a chart with the scene number as the Horizontal access and the Tension as the vertical access to get this.
Although not an exact science, thinking about pacing in a thriller gave me a more visual view of what’s happening in the story as well as the rising action!.