1. Kinzvlle

    Kinzvlle Active Member

    Mar 5, 2016
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    PA, USA

    Organizing materials

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kinzvlle, Mar 8, 2016.

    The title, gives away the main topic of course. How do you organize materials such as outlines, printed out drafts, letters, maybe something from your research, and etc? Do you keep it all on digital files? Do you keep folders or a binder? Do you just wing it or have papers scattered everywhere? I tend to be that last one, but it`s occurred to me it`ll be a better idea to get slightly more organized if I intend to take this seriously. I currently have a binder, and a few folders so far. I also have a desk that I`ll use for writing soon..if I ever get around to moving the junk off of it. I`ll also keep some files on drive but I prefer to keep some level of files on papper and such.

    Just thought I'd post here, and ask how you guys orgnasing any of the materials you use, in the writing process.
    Myths likes this.
  2. Holden LaPadula

    Holden LaPadula Member

    Feb 1, 2016
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    I LOVE the app "Scanner Pro" for iPad/iPhone, etc. You can photograph any printed (or digital) paper/document or even a receipt (ANYTHING) and it will create a flat version for you. Then you can organize them into folders and write on them within the app if need be.

    If that doesn't float your boat, try a huge accordion binder. I hate binders with rings and I especially hate folders. Accordion binders will keep your documents clean and organized! If you want EVERYTHING in there you can print digital documents and stick them in too.

    Good luck!
  3. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Member

    Aug 12, 2014
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    I find comparing workflow tools fun and educational. I don't think there's any 'best' way but it helped me a lot to learn about other peoples' approaches when I was trying to develop something for myself.

    I'm old enough to remember the paper only days, and I'd never go back. I used to buy stacks of index cards to organize outlines, and stack pages on the floor. In those days it would be nonfiction essays and research papers, so there were reams of photocopied reference papers in the stacks, under my own typed content for each section.

    I use Scrivener for all my fiction now. The files are saved on Dropbox, so I can change computers (I have a laptop for when I write away from my office, for example when I take the kids to the cottage) For the fiction 'space operas' I maintain an in-universe character/setting/event database with a mediawiki instance that I installed on my shared hosted website. It used to be on my mac, but I found it a chore to maintain. The shared hosting people take care of all the updates now, and I think it's worth the small expense and security risk. In the long run, I may also use the shared hosting for brand presence.

    For nonfiction, it's often being authored for a blog, so I compose in whatever environment the site has installed and the editor directs me to use. They usually have draft support - meaning I can start from scratch on something that develops into something that resembles its end result - i don't need to trasnspose formats before ultimately publishing.

    I still have the Mac SE/30 I used to write bylines for my student newspaper in the early 1990s.

    The three physical tools I retain are:
    * I coated an entire 10' wide wall in my office with whiteboard paint, and I use that to draw my plot/subplot timelines across the scenes and chapters, and brainstorm from time to time. It's the way I flesh out theme clouds, for example. If a way ever develops to do that on computer, I'll adopt it, as it's wasting wallspace that could be better used for bookshelves.
    * I almost always print segments of the manuscript in progress in order to read them to myself aloud and validate the prose's 'credibility'.
    * I print out copies of my writing circle's submissions, as they prefer to receive the critiques that way (I prefer marking up a Word or PDF document with the relevant tools so we don't always have to meet in person, but I was outvoted - some of my peers don't even have a computer and submit typewriter copies... i may not stay with this group).
  4. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Jul 11, 2010
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    Near Los Angeles
    Scrivener (there's that word again) handles all this for me. Notes, outlines, character sheets (I don't use these, but I could if I wanted), photos, web pages - pretty much anything can fit into a Scrivener project. It's all organized and immediately accessible.

    I also like to print out intermediate drafts to read away from the computer. My filing cabinets bulge with drafts. :)

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