For the month of November you may see a lot of post on the writing process or questions about writing. My blog is still a “catch all” table and I will post other things, but seeing as November is National Novel Writing Month, my mind is focusing more than ever on my current WIP.
Today, I come to you with a question about how you store your story.
I have seen many people posting a picture of the word count of their file. Everything in one file, from beginning to end. And it’s really awesome to see that word count number get so high. There is a satisfaction in word count, I understand, but is it really practical to have an entire story, one that will reach over 50,000 words, in one file?
My first novel that I wrote was one file. For a while anyways. I loved to watch the word count go up. It was like a drug and with every word I got higher and higher. Not just in word count, but inspiration as well. Then it was time to edit and I found that I had a problem. I printed the entire book to edit and got to work. Then, I had to go back into my electronic file and make changes.
There were two problems with this. First, I was new at writing and my idiot newbie self forgot to number the pages. Second, there were so many pages to get through to find the one word or sentence that needed to be corrected.
That was when I came up with a new method of storing my novel. I started breaking it down into chapters. Each chapter had its own file, all of the files tucked away into one folder. It worked for me. Then I could write, chapter by chapter, and edit chapter by chapter. I even have folders within that folder. One of the rough draft and then a folder for every edit the book goes through. I don’t like to trash or forget any word I have written.
Now it’s just habit to file my novels this way. When it is complete, edited and ready to be finished off, I will copy and paste each chapter into a new file and label it with the book title with (complete) out beside it. Not to say that this is the last and final draft of my novel, but it makes it much easier to print and hand out to beta readers at that point. Not to mention if I happen to find a publisher, I have everything in one file, ready to send away for my dream to come true.
So, how do you store your novel? Am I making my own process completely too hard or impractical? Does anyone else have a special way to save their novel?