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the scrivening, part 3: a work in progress

My friend Kris, a happy user of Scrivener, once told me that the way I organized my novel was like “a low-tech version” of the software. Now that I’ve played with some of its features, I know she was absolutely right.

So this is how I normally write my novels, which may sound quite bizarre to some of you:

  • Every chapter gets its own folder, eg. Ch01_QuantumCoin_drafts
  • Every time I work on a file, I give it a different file name, such as chapter_one_050411.doc. I’ll usually only work on a document once a day, but if I revisit it multiple times, I start adding letters to the end, a la the naming conventions for Federation starships. (chapter_one_050411A = NCC-1701-A). I usually end up with one to four files per chapter, which might be excessive, but gives me peace of mind. In the event of a corrupt file, I can rollback to the previous document, and I can always revert to a previous draft if I need to.
  • While writing, I note details about each chapter in a table (in another Word doc) that looks basically like this:
Ch/Word Count Characters Events/Scenes Notes
1/1542 Ephraim
Nathan
Jena
Crazy stuff happens Make this chapter better

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