One of the most user-friendly things about NovelPad is how small the learning curve is. Writers can just jump into a project. There’s no need to spend hours setting it up, or weeding through a thousand features, before actually doing any writing.
But NovelPad is also feature-rich and intuitive! Once you’re ready to explore the full software, you’ll find many helpful tools for putting your stories together. Today we’re going to talk about one of the most popular features, color labels, and a few different ways to use them.
First, let’s go over a quick rundown of how they work.
You'll find this in the bottom righthand corner of your screen.
You can add, edit, and delete any labels.
3. From here, set labels and select new colors with a full-range color picker.
The sky's the limit—choose any color scheme you'd like!
Edit, add, or delete color labels at any time. A lot of writers experiment with different systems until they find the best use for labels in their own writing style, so don’t be afraid to try stuff out!
Here are six ideas to use for color labels on scenes.
One way to use color labels is to indicate what needs to be done to the scene next. I like to use this system for my second drafts, to know which scenes need what kind of work.
This is a great method if you’re the type of writer who gets in moods for certain types of tasks. For example, if one day you’re in the mood to do heavy revisions, you can find the scenes ready for that and jump right in. If you’re in the mood to focus on prose, hop to one that needs line edits.
UPDATE 2023: NovelPad now supports character POV, allowing users to assign a character to individual scenes.
If your novel has more than one POV character, you can use color labels to easily see which scenes are from whose perspective. This method is helpful for ensuring you have a good balance between your POV characters with a simple glance. Too much red in one clump? Chop some Sara out of there.
3. Balance tone and mood
You may have heard of the "roller coaster" effect for pacing your novels. This refers to the mood of each scene. The desired outcome of this method is for one chapter to end on a high note, followed by a chapter opening on a low note to create an up-and-down roller coaster emotion. This maintains narrative momentum, makes it easier to hold your reader’s interest, and can help to balance the overall feeling of your novel.
Assigning colors to each mood can help you see if any parts of your novel are too heavy with one mood or emotion.
Another way to use the color labels is to mark what is being accomplished in each scene. Is it a slow conversation for character development? Is it a major plot point? Are you adding a new obstacle?
This method can help you keep the goal of the scene in mind as you write it, as well as making the editing process easier. If a scene was initially written to progress the plot, and you notice it’s not actually accomplishing that, you can feel more confident in cutting it. (Or adding it to your "recycle" document, like I do. One day I’ll use those scenes somewhere else. I swear.)
One more idea for tracking scene content could be labels like: love scene, action sequence, violence, etc., to get an overhead view of the themes and tone of your story. Being able to take in the content of the story on one page can clarify the genre, help you make revision decisions, and give you a stronger start to marketing the finished project to the proper readership.
If you really want to dig into your character development and arc, you can label the scene based on what’s happening with the character. Is a scene progressing them toward their goal? Is it adding an obstacle for the character to overcome? Have they met a task with success or failure?
This will not only make writing a fulfilling and satisfactory character arc much easier, but it will also help to balance their journey along the way.
If you’re working from a novel template, like the Save The Cat beat sheet, you might label your scenes to coincide with that plan. This can give you an overview shot of which scenes fall where in the novel plot.
With templates like the STC format, they recommend dedicating a certain percentage of your story to each part. Using color labels to see which scenes fall into that category can help writers keep the correct balance throughout.
These are just a few of the ways you can utilize NovelPad’s color labels on your scenes to make writing your book a little easier.