Reconstruction, compilation, salvation (?)

Last week, I celebrated the first Monday of the new year by pitching my exhausted and tattered 2010 planner in favor of a spiffy purple one with 2011 stamped on the cover.

Today, I celebrated the second Monday of the new year calling various receptionists and office managers to ask when my next appointments are and switching appointments that conflicted with my work schedule.  Because I’d also thrown out the last page of my old planner where I’d carefully jotted down all kinds of important stuff that extended into April.

It occurred to me after I’d recontructed my future that I also jump the gun when it comes to tossing—or saving over—old versions of whatever scene or chapter I’m revising in my WIP.  It probably doesn’t matter for the little stuff—the spelling corrections, word choices, and occasional continuity error—but for the major changes—the plothole spackling, the clue planting, the &$%$& replacement of Chapter Three—it might behoove me to archive.  

Because sometimes cool fixes aren’t and don’t and the plot threads get all tangled up.  A total chapter reset—like the Send folder of an e-mail account wherein lurks Chapter Sixteen—could be a writer’s Get Out of Hell free card.

I do keep a document full of murdered darlings, those snips and snails that don’t quite work where they are but are too full of potential* to delete.  Dating my chapter drafts and sweeping the older ones into a folder won’t take any more time than cutting and pasting those precious little pieces.  And will no doubt be more useful.

Along these lines, another thing I’ve been meaning to try is compiling a bible for my WIP.  The talented and ever-humble Pip Hunn posted a thorough how-to on the Write Thing a month or two ago.  I duly bookmarked it, bought a new binderjust love a venture that gives me an excuse to visit the office supply store—and didn’t think any more about it.**

But it makes more sense to check one place in a file rather than search an entire manuscript when I’ve mentally misplaced a character’s name, height, ice cream preference, or rap sheet. 

Especially since it’s no longer a secret that I’ve got a mind like a steel sieve.

Anyone have any advice or opinions on archiving, backups, or compiling a writing bible?  I promise to take careful notes, as soon as I can lay hands on that binder.   Or maybe I’ll just refer back to the comments. . . .


*At square one, everything’s full of potential.

**Which is a well-timed, if not quite ironic, example of why I might need an auxillary memory.


7 thoughts on “Reconstruction, compilation, salvation (?)

  1. Thanks for the link to Pip’s how to – duly bookmarked. I’m still a disorganized writer but my dissertation looms. I can offer no advice right now, but will gladly take more round about April . . .

  2. A writing bible??? Oh no! Note taking and compiling in a folder? Organization? (I’ll bet your Tupperware is stacked, isn’t it Sarah? Come on, you can tell me.)

    This sounds so good, especially the Get out of Hell Free card, but I am too lazy and too inherently disorganized to master anything so ambitious as a writing bible. I get around this by writing plots a third-grader can follow.

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