1 (edited by Apricots 2021-05-11 03:45:53)

Topic: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Hey guys, I crept around a bit, and even though the actual plot of my book is mostly romance, I think it’s fantasy/medieval enough to fit in here based on the subplots and world aspects. So I’m setting up Broken Glass’s shop here. I was about ready to give up on my bookchild when I found the site, and you guys have really given me some hope that I can make it presentable instead of hiding it in the attic and hoping it never comes back to haunt me like Smike.

The title is tentative. The cover is tentative. The middle chapters are a dumpster fire.

Out of curiosity, how organized or chaotic is everyone else’s writing/editing process?

TLDR: I went from having 5 documents in one folder to having 25 documents in 15 folders in the 2 weeks since joining the site.

I've always been a real organized writer, even when just writing for entertainment. But I’ve struggled since coming to the site to stay organized.

When I got here I just had the one Word document for my whole book, then a separate document for my B1 outline, a third for my B2 outline, a character sheet, and a storybible document.

I realized quickly after getting here that I needed each chapter in a separate document so I could take each chapter apart and experiment with people’s suggestions without risking losing what I had initially in case those experiments didn’t sit well after I slept.

Then I realized I needed to make a to do/laundry list like I do for my proofreading clients to compile my common errors and bad habits so I could edit ahead before I posted. Then I had to split that into four documents: “problem words,” “you need to add this in somewhere,” “figure out how to fix this” and “you need to research that.”

I cut a bunch of info dumps but still need to add that info back in at various points, so I also have an “upcycle” document.

Since most of you guys have been doing this longer and getting feedback for longer, I’d love to know how everyone else is organizing and keeping track of their worlds/systems/stories.

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

I'd be interested to know that too. I split my manuscript into three or four story acts, one Word doc per act. If I get feedback that makes me want to rewrite one or more chapters (happens too often), I rename the old chapters appropriately, but keep them in the same file for easy reference. I make plenty of backups of my acts, so if I start making substantial edits and change my mind, I can pull the originals from backup files. I have research files, an outline file, a massive notes file of ideas for later acts and later books in the series, a proofreading checklist file that I always forget to look out, and a spreadsheet of all named entities (churches and other locations, Italian words I use, characters (including descriptions), etc.). That's most of it. I make backups of all modified files every few days into a backups subdirectory; Windows automatically adds a numeric suffix to each backup file's name, so I can go back days, weeks, or even months. My directory is stored on Google drive, so I don't have to worry about hard drive crashes, but I also backup the entire directory, including all backup files, onto a couple of thumb drives every few weeks (because I don't totally trust Google drive). I'll eventually create a new directory when I'm ready to start writing the second draft, and probably for a third, all organized like the first one.

Welcome to the forum. It's not as active as it used to be, but more so than most others.

3 (edited by Apricots 2021-05-11 04:25:22)

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Oh heck, I hadn’t even considered computer crashes. Pretty sure my mac is 10 years old this year, I should probably get a thumb drive. I’ve never even used one, never had anything on my computer important enough to worry over.

**And thank you for the welcome!

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

I use WordPerfect, not that it really matters. Just upgraded to WP 2021.

I save my writing by chapter or section break. So I have a file for each part of my story. When I start heavy revisions, I save the original files in a "First Draft" folder and create new files for each chapter/section in the root folder. By the end I may have four or five folders titled "First Draft", "Second Draft", etc. That way I always have the originals.

As I type, each paragraph is in a style. I call it "Body". This way, when I create different formats/containers for these files (ebook, 8x11, 6x9, etc.) all I have to do is redefine the style to get the look the new format requires. This means I go from no indent 6p spacing between paragraphs to .5" indent, double spacing, no paragraph spacing for Word submissions, etc. with just the change of the style. This is particularly useful when going from WordPerfect to Word. I set up a blank 'generic chapter' file with the Body style pre-defined. When I type something new, I open that file, save it with the new name, and go to town.

In my root folder I have a folder called "Materials" for everything non-writing related. For example I save my PSD and PNG files for the titles I use here on the site in that folder. I'd also drop ancillary files, research, contracts, fonts used, etc. in there. I know where to find everything for any of the stories I have written using this simple method.

So for example, I have master or root directory on Dropbox called Short Stories. Within that folder I have all my short stories. For my current work, I have a folder titled Sephalon. Within that folder I have folders for each story: Mother of Grub, A Duty to Sacrifice, Mother of Succor, Mother of Draglins, Pulled, and SBaMoP. Within each I have the Materials folder and folders for each of the drafts. When I create new content tonight for my current work in progress, the folder tree would be: D:/Short Stories/Sephalon/Mother of Draglins/chapter name. (Sephalon is under the Short Story folder as originally I intended all the stories set here to be short stories. Four out of the six so far have stuck to that. Them last two...not so much.)

Hope this helps!

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

This is important enough!  I've been lazy about backups, but then I've done little in the past year.  Thumb drives are cheap nowadays.
And no, I'm not nearly that organized.

Anyhow, welcome here!  I'm glad you de-lurked.

6 (edited by Apricots 2021-05-11 17:24:18)

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Seabrass: I hope my future planning looks that organized. I feel like it could start spiraling if I don’t stay ahead of it. I think I’ll adopt saving multiple drafts, break up my initial full story document into draft chapters. I know nothing about publishing formats, but if/when I ever get to that point, I’ll know who to bother about it!

NJC: De-lurking longwindedly and somehow managed to say pretty much nothing about the book itself. And while I wouldn’t have thought it was important enough two weeks ago, the revisions in C6-8 have made me see a lot more potential in my bookchild. Side note, my card&dice game will be called Star n’ Rats, and my provisional expression: you’ve pulled The Rats. It’s a little long so it might not work, but it’s going in this revision at least.

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

This topic has been eerily prophetic.  I just went to de-hibernate my Windoze laptop.  It  bought up the scenery screen, but would not bring up the password screen.  After 10 minutes or so, it stopped chugging on the disk and I tried again.  Windoze went back to beating its disk.  After a third cycle, I did a hard reboot.  It's now running a disk check, which this version of 'doze does while the system is running   ... oh ... Okay.  After increasing its estimate of time remaining from 15 minutes to 4 and a half hours, it just declared itself done.  Now I'm recovering all the Open Office files I have open.  Since I save before hibernating, it should be ... a formality, and it is.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work I go ... Uh oh ... And So It's Begun: https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/449366/

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Apricots wrote:

Hey guys, I crept around a bit, and even though the actual plot of my book is mostly romance, I think it’s fantasy/medieval enough to fit in here based on the subplots and world aspects.

From Kate Paulk's ConVent (yeah, a plug):

"I'm Natalia Bosting, and I'm here under false pretenses because I don't write sex, I write relationships." She tilted her head as though she was thinking about something. "Well, except for the Night Ships space opera series. Oh, and the Crowned Heart series." Another pause. "Actually, I think there was sex in the gay were-creatures books. But not in anything else."

Don't limit yourself!

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

That's terrifying, I'll be talking a lot nicer to my little Mac 'til that thumb drive gets here. It's definitely a victim of much abuse, I'm surprised it's still alive. But it does occasionally pull dramatics that sound similar to your doze incident. I accidentally let it die nearly everyday, and it makes a ton of noise when I try to turn it back on, gets stuck in a white screen and I have to reboot it to revive it. It has had a lot of coffee/wine baths, and often falls from great heights. Has been thrown a time or two. It has a dent on the chassis that causes it to eat CDs. There's a home video still in there from like a year ago I keep meaning to pry out. If technology ever develops consciousness I'll be pretty high on the kill list. 

Does Virginia count as SE? I feel like it kind of does. Running out of gas would definitely put a dampener on my truck dreams.

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Lol, I haven't read that, but it sounds entertaining. I don't know that I'm limiting myself, I'm just not confident in my ability to write it well enough for it to be classy. If I'm going to write anything bordering on indecency, I feel like it's gotta be really worth it for the plot.

And it's not like anyone left alive in my family reads, pretty sure most of my cousins are barely a step up from illiterate, but I'd still feel pretty self conscious about publishing things that are explicit. I've got a grumpy older brother and a horde of guy cousins who would find out and give me crap about it 'til I die. My Grandmary would probably order twenty books without reading them to give to all her church friends and then she'd have to become a baptist. I can see a lot of things going wrong. I'm already fairly unpopular in my hometown, if I'm going to make it worse, I'd have to be really convinced it would add significantly the story.

11 (edited by njc 2021-05-11 07:02:50)

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Apricots wrote:

Does Virginia count as SE? I feel like it kind of does. Running out of gas would definitely put a dampener on my truck dreams.

The ZeroHedge article linked to has a map.  The map may be slow to load.  But yes, definitely.

That pipeline ends in Bayway, NJ, site of what used to be the third largest refinery in North America, with pipelines to Newark, LaGuardia, and JFK airports--the busiest air traffic control zone in the Americas.  But COVID-reduced air travel may be a blessing.  Back before 2000, fear of lawfare forced Exxon to sell the refinery.  There are a few processing elements left in the Linden Cogeneration Plant, but it no longer has the capacity to unload and refine large tankers of crude.

The pipeline should be operating by the weekend, but refilling the tanks along the way will take days.  Remember that it can only carry one kind of fuel at once.

Our energy infastructure has never been more fragile, and more critical.

12 (edited by njc 2021-05-11 07:00:42)

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Apricots wrote:

I've got a grumpy older brother and a horde of guy cousins who would find out and give me crap about it 'til I die. My Grandmary would probably order twenty books without reading them to give to all her church friends and then she'd have to become a baptist.

Many of the best writers of very erotic fantasy are white haired little old ladies.  As Paulk's narrator character notes in one of the stories, this disturbs a lot of men.

Oh, and the speaker in that clip is a reformed, undercover succubus with a wicked sense of humor.


Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Virginia: https://www.nbc12.com/2021/05/10/some-v … continues/

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Hopefully it doesn't effect the prices long. That's just a bummer.

And they may well be, but I'd still rather air on the side of caution. At the very least until my writing is better and I see a need for it.

I've come up with an outline for the game. Now I just need to test it to see if it functions. Much more difficult as that requires leaving my computer. And being in the presence of more than one person, which isn't something that occurs in quarantine.

Stars N’ Rats

Dice x 2:
•    4 sided
•    1 blank side
•    3 sides with 1, 2 and 3 stars respectively
•    # of Stars = # of cards you can play that round
o    Bad Exception: If you pull the Rats card, every star you rolled is a card you have to give up. Example: Your hand: 2 Man, 3 Dog, 1 Hare; you roll a 2 & blank; you pull Rats; you lose 2 cards (your choice)
o    Good Exception: If you pull the Jays card, every star you rolled is a card you can take from your opponents (their choice)

Deck of 50 cards:
•    Pull Pile:
o    Rats x 1
o    Jays x 1
o    Hawk x 3
o    Badger x 4
o    Hare x 5
o    Mole x 6
•    Deal Pile:
o    Dog x 15
o    Man x 15

The Game:
•    Shuffle
•    Deal 5 cards (face down) per player
•    Each player rolls the die
•    Each player pulls a card
•    Each player then puts down as many cards as they got stars in their roll
•    Whoever wins the round pulls a new card (winner’s choice) from the opponents’ cards played in that round
•    Round winning is determined by hand combinations
•    Each hand combination has to have a Man card, if you have no Man card, you forfeit the round and lose a card (your choice) to the winner
•    High to low card order: Hawk, Badger, Hare, Mole, Dog, Man

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

One of the advantages (for me, anyway) of grouping chapters into acts during the draft phase is that, if I want to check for or change something I wrote earlier (e.g., finding all instances of words or phrases when I realize I need to change something), I don't have to open a file per chapter. That could get tedious very quickly.

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

I could see that side too. I had to change a name earlier and it was super easy to "replace all" when it was in one document, but now that there's so many... It'd definitely be tedious.

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Interesting peek into all of your creative processes. For my part, I never change things mid-draft. Some of the name changes I've been lugging along forever in PR. I know that "Laine" will become "Raine" and Trag will become "Victoria" (Vickie, Veevee), yet, I'm still working in one version in one (branchless | leafless) stream.

I am fairly confident a search replace would never find all my pet-name variants.

Advantage: Simplicity
Disadvantage: When you get a rogue pixie mangling your plot by not dying, it really makes life rough

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Not making changes mid-draft sounds like a smart idea. For reviewers’ sake as well to avoid confusion. Luckily I’ve only had to change a minor character’s name, so I doubt anyone will be confused by it. Maybe I’ll make a “third draft changes” document to go in the folder for things that might confuse reviewers/myself changing them halfway.


Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Let me know if you know anyone interested in a big software project that would deal with this.  I'm not the guy to do the work, since the Windoze environment.  I see how to help with this, but there's a lot of parts to integrate, and that--and specification--are where I can help.

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Some people like Scrivener for that, although exporting to Word (e.g., to work with an editor) and then reimporting into Scrivener is a pain. Last I checked, imports were done by manually copying and pasting, scene by scene.

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

I'm pretty sure all the computer people I know are not suited to that sort of task. I know people who make websites and people who design websites, a guy who does robotics stuff and my first college roommate does computer stuff, but I don't really know what. She was a computer science major and worked on Geek Squad whilst in school, but that was like twelve years ago. I haven't asked her about what she does for work since then, 'cause I know I'm not going to understand it anyway.


Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Does Scrivner maintain a database of characters, recognize their (multiple) names, track where they appear, allow name changes via the database, link pronouns to antecedents, etc.?  And manage both database and text through multiple version?  Allow it to trace interwoven story threads through chapters and scenes?

Allow it to link outline to the story written, and to display the outline as the text is filled in?  Allow multiple levels of outline, across volumes?  Include not only characters but places, macguffins, spells and tech, in the database, linking them via the outline/text to each other?  And share part or all of the database across multiple stories in the world?

For more fun, design it so it can be adapted to the rules of multiple languages, including those with patronymics and matronymics, and those that run right-to-left.

For still more fun, allow multiple text editing modes.  WYSIWYG is easy to learn, but once you've used something better, it's crippleware.  Allow multiple windows to display a document, with changes in one reflected immediately in the others.  Also allow splitting windows, so that you can see far-away parts of the document as you cut-and-paste--or use whatever better facilities your editing mode provides.

Oh, and make it run efficiently and reliably on multiple platforms, with all the formatting (and none of the weird Windoze glitchen), capable of generating all the various output formats needed, as well as handling (at least) basic hypertext links.

Xerox solved some of the multi-lingual and editing problems in the 70's and got an article in Scientific American.

Just the design and development roadmap is a significant project, and will probably require Mo,ney.

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

Yes, it does all those things. tongue


Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

I have my doubts about multiple good editing modes, but if it gets the rest I may have to look into it.  I grew up on a text editor (not word processor) called vi (vee eye).  It was very good for working fast without meta keys ('alt') and it could exchange delimited fields in every line matched, or every line matched under a global search; it had multiple text memories (clipboards) and access to multiple undo buffers.  It could also move blocks of text without using the memories and buffers, and could mark places for rapid return to them, or for moving or copying text without clipboards.

I miss it still.

Re: Broken Glass thread, staying organized

I was only kidding about it doing many of the things you mentioned.