1. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    How do you manage your text files during revision?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mrieder79, Mar 29, 2014.

    Currently I have a separate document for each chapter with versions separated by date. This is fine for the first draft where I don't make any changes, but when I commence revision, I can see a problem developing with keeping the most up to date version easily visible.

    My first draft will have around 250-275k words when I am finished.

    How do others manage this?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Scrivener does it for me. There is an option to save an "image" of the project at any point and continue working on. You can revert to an earlier image of the whole project or just a part at any time.
     
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  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Scrivener also has a feature which allows me to keep several versions of a scene or chapter, identify which version each is, and select which one is compiled into the final manuscript. All of this is kept in the same project file.

    I'd kiss Scrivener on the lips, if software had lips.
     
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  4. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    I use MS Word and put all chapters in the same document. I name the first version 'Book Title - 1A.' When I'm ready to make significant revisions, I save the new version as 'Book Title 1B.' After that, 'Book Title 1C,' and so on. If I decide to restore something from an earlier draft, they're all there, intact.

    Your first draft is 250,000 words?
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    That was my first thought. That's a whole lotta words.

    I also use MS Word. I keep my chapters separate and then combine them as the last step in compiling my first draft. Unfortunately, I am now noticing that it is possible for there to be style inconsistencies if one does not use a preset template (I don't), which may require extensive reformatting of a chapter here or there. I then print out the first draft in hard copy to begin the editing process. Then I go back to WORD and begin the revision process there, saving new files at various stages of review. I may very well go to Scrivener for my next project.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I use wordperfect. I keep things in folders - Draft 1 - Draft 2 etc. Each chapter is its own doc.
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I operate in a similar way to you. I work on a Mac with Pages (currently). I have a separate folder for each chapter, where I store each chapter's version in document form. I name each folder Chapter One, Chapter Two, etc. I date each chapter's version within these separate folders.

    Everything having to do with a particular chapter is stored within that chapter's folder.

    When I revise, I simply duplicate the last version of the document before I start making any changes. I immediately re-date the duplicate to work on, and drag and drop the old version into a Changes folder (entitled, for example Chapt 1 Changes) that I keep inside the Chapter folder.

    When I'm working, I only have one version showing at a timeā€”the current one. All the others are stored away in the Changes folder, in case I ever need to return to one of the older versions. All of these keep their original dates, so it's easy to go to the version I need.

    This makes it easy to back up as well. I do full backups quite frequently, but if I've just worked on one chapter, I just drag and drop the entire chapter folder onto my flash drives, and that's the copy made. That's a lot quicker than backing up the entire novel every time I change a couple of words!

    .................

    I also keep a folder for large bits I've removed, in case I ever want to restore them. (And yes, occasionally I have done!) I just call it 'Bits' - not very professional, eh? But that's for when I've excised entire chapters or scenes. Makes for very interesting reading way down the line. I can't believe some of the crap I wrote, first time round!
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
  8. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    My method is similar to David K. Thomasson's.

    Using MS Word, I name the files Novel Title v 1, Novel Title v 2, etc.
    Then 2D Novel Title v 1, etc. for the 2nd draft and 3D for third drafts.

    I have the entire novel in one file, not chapter by chapter.

    In addition, I regularly save backups, but after each addition of words or revision, I email the chapter to myself as a quick backup method.
     
  9. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Yes, that's a smart move. I frequently back up to a laptop in the next room. I use GoodSync so it can be done with one click.

    At least once a day I backup my writing directory (where also resides all my nonfiction freelance files) to the second internal hard drive and to an external hard drive, also with GoodSync. That's in addition to the laptop backup.
     
  10. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Do you have problems with crashing or sluggish loading when you put such a large document in one file?
     
  11. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    If you tell Word to embed fonts, the saving will be a bit slower -- say 5 to 7 seconds for a 100K-word MS. If you don't embed fonts, the same file will save in less than 1 second.

    During the drafting phase, there's no need to embed fonts, because you're probably working in Times New Roman or some such default font. Embed fonts in the final stage when you format for print.
     
  12. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, I don't. My longest published novel was 183,000 words and it wasn't an issue.
    I found it easier to search for information, make sure of name spelling consistency, etc. by having everything in one file. Even if there were to be some 'sluggish' loading, the time saved not having to toggle between files by chapter would be worth it.
     
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  13. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    +1
     
  14. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not really sure what you mean here...
    I write my first draft in the same document. When it's finished I make a copy and start the revision in the copy, and for each new revision round I make a new copy. That way I still have the previous drafts intact.
     
  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Not sure what you mean here. You just said you have your entire novel in one file, but then you say you email separate chapters to yourself as a quick backup. Do you copy/paste the section into your email?

    I found when I first tried to email more than a couple of chapters together, my email programme at the time (Outlook Express) couldn't handle a large file or attachment, and I had to split everything up. (And no, the chapters weren't THAT huge!) Now when I send my novel to betas via the internet, I always send separate chapter attachments.

    I presume things have moved on a bit, but I wonder if handling big files is still an issue for some email programmes?
     
  16. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    The whole thing in one file. Whenever I make changes to the point where I may want to reverse I save it as a new file with a sequential number. Currently I'm up to 147!

    I data dump cut sections or thoughts for use later at the very end, and highlight anything I think needs an edit/revision.
     
  17. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Is that a lot? This is my first book.
     
  18. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Well, Moby Dick is 210,000 words, and that's regarded as a pretty large book.
     
  19. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mine was half of that, and the physical book ended up in over 400 pages...
     
  20. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    If you plan on trying to get it published, yes. The recommended word count for a first novel is 80K - 120K, preferably no more than 100K. It varies somewhat by genre. YA would be less.

    The first draft of my first novel attempt was 4ooK and was down to 140K by the time I decided it had served its purpose and moved on.
     
  21. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    To be clear, my unedited rough draft is 250k. I think I'll be able to cut it a lot once I see how the whole story looks. There is a lot of stuff to be trimmed--whole chapters, possibly even a whole character.
     
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  22. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    That's usually the way of it.
     
  23. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Every week I save a new file "Book 4 week 7" or whatever. That way, you can always go back and pick up something you might have deleted. Entire books take up almost no space. Like a 120,000 word novel is about 450kb. Not even half a meg? Go crazy. Save a new one every day, if you want. You'll probably never fill up that 16GB thumb drive.
     
  24. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I keep multiple backups in .odt format, but I've never had to go back after making a major edit (as opposed to a typo or single line). Normally I just have three at completion. Master, backup, and editing copy.
     
  25. mikeinseattle
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    mikeinseattle Member

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    That is a huge novel!
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
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