Saturday, May 21, 2011

There's No Shortcuts in Writing/Editing

So, I can be a bit disorganized. And, given the fact that Multiples of Six has been…gasp!…7 years in the making…I’ve moved files from one computer to another and created various backup files. So, when I realized this week that I might have been working on a version that was not the most recent, I became a bit dismayed…to say the least.

In my what was supposed to be my “final” revision, I came across a chapter that seemed out of place…then another…and before long, with about 10 chapters to go (out of 40), I was ready to throw it all away. How had I gone back to an older version!? I mean, it had been over a year since I had worked on it (spent writing another novel), but in my mind, at least, it hadn’t been this bad when I left it. Rummaging through some old files, I came across a file that contained all of the chapters of my novel, with a text note to myself: “These chapters are based on the order conceived in the spiral bound notebook with the typewriter on the front.” Knowing that I would have no clue…I had left myself one. Go me.

Now, here’s where it went bad. I stopped the editing process altogether…obsessed with finding said spiral bound notebook that held the magic key to finish my edits. A week went by…ten days...almost two weeks before I finally found "The Holy Grail." This was the answer! This notebook would set me back on track. It held the brilliant reordering that was necessary for the ending to make sense. Hmmm…not so much. Instead, it had new plot conveyances and changed some of the ending to make what I had work, instead of trying to fix what was really wrong. Two weeks of trying to find the easy way out, and I was no better off than when I started. I was working on the most recent version. I had left it in a bit of a shamble and there was no magic notebook containing the solution to my chapter timing issues (which really aren’t that bad…but I do have to cut a couple superfluous scenes).

So, it’s back to reality and back to editing.

Do you have organizational techniques for keeping your files in order? Do you use a particular software for your writing? How do you back up your work?