Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How do you write? Part IV, Excetera (Conclusion)

To wind up this series, I thought I'd mention some of the other legwork that goes into my writing process.

Just about every story I have on my computer has a file to accompany it. In this file are all of my internet research notes, deleted scenes, first drafts, and other notes. Some examples:

1. Never, ever delete your old drafts. If rewrites require severe deviation from the original, copy it into a new file and work from that. Listen to the voice of experience. Don't delete anything. Ever.

ETA: I should also note that for archiving purposes, I also print off a hard copy now every time I finish a manuscript, usually the first draft and the final.

2. Internet research--This goes for book research as well, but doubly so for the internet. Always save the webpage so you know where to find the information again. In fact, if you can, hit ctrl+s to actually save the entire page as a file on your computer, which can be viewed offline. This way, you'll have all of the information and images in context, and won't spend hours combing through your notes trying to figure out where that Norse symbol you used in chapter two came from and what the hell it was called. (Again, learn from my mistakes and save yourself the trouble.)

ETA: For more complex stories, I also tend to have a notebook going with handwritten scenes, lists, and research done from books.

3. Family Trees--I generally don't include these for shorter works, but Cassie and Evie both have them. This helps when your referencing obscure relatives that become unexpectedly important later, or in the case of Cassie's love interest, who have large families or obscure middle names that you won't remember in another thousand words.

4. Notes for future volumes--this happens a lot with Cassie. I'm working on a really exciting scene, or an intriguing villain, or, with Evie, I'll have a loose thread that just won't tuck neatly into to ending I'm working up to, so I'll make a note for a future volume. I keep a running list of potential titles, characters that should pop up again and events that might need referencing later.

Well, that is it for me. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments. I hope you found this a refreshing break from the usual typewriter/knitting posts. More knitting pictures and maybe even a typecast coming soon.

1 comment:

  1. I love #1! I wish I had saved many things I stored digitally and for got to archive so I had them when something died or convert the format when things changed.

    Worst thing I find on internet research is dependable sites with correct facts.

    Great post with many good, great, ideas.