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  1. Knave
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    Knave New Member

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    What do you do with old drafts?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Knave, Jan 3, 2012.

    Do you keep all your old drafts? Once you deem a work to be "finished", is there a point in keeping the versions from every stage of editing?

    I find myself doing lots of editing, so I wind up with lots of drafts, but once the piece reaches a certain stage, the drafts become clutter. Hard copies, especially, but files too. For example, I sometimes print copies of short stories to edit with a pen. It becomes an essential document to have around for a while, but as soon as the new draft is typed up, the printed version is obsolete, even though I always feel I should keep it just in case I change my mind about something and think "how did I have that before?"
     
  2. Party Poison
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    Party Poison Member

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    I have them all somewhere on my computer or fansite, or if at school in a portfolio.
     
  3. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I destroy hard copies (shred, burn) but always keep electronic copies, and resave my work after EVERY significant edit - I have my own rudimentary system of version control, whereby I simply add the current date to the filename when I save it at the end of the day. I rarely make more than one significant edit per day, but if I do end I will save it as v.2

    Yes, my c drive is spammed up to the eyeballs with minutely different edits of my work, but there have been occasions (many) when I've changed my mind about an edit and gone back to a previous draft - and I can pretty quickly find the exact draft I'm after.

    I don't know what I'll do if/when I eventually publish - perhaps I'll delete most of the early drafts, but keep the more recent edits. You never know... one day you might be asked to prove you didn't plagiarise your ideas, and having hundreds of drafts is pretty compelling evidence.
     
  4. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have CD back ups of old versions of all my novels. Partly it's security, in case the computer dies. But it's also useful in ase later on someone comes and says you stole this book from me etc, then I can provide evidence of the book's development from start to finish.

    Cheers Greg.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    The ones I have printed I save and the ones I have on the computer... well I save them too, just for fun.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's always a good idea to keep your first 'idea' notes along with your first draft and at least one middle one [in hard copies, with your handwritten editing notes on the draft/s]... this will be admissible-in-court proof that the work is yours, should its authorship ever be in question...
     
  7. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    I like to print a hard copy and do editing by hand. It becomes sort of a journal entry -- insight into my process, what I was thinking at the time, etc. I save all drafts and put them together with the finished draft in a plastic sleeve in a 3-ring binder. I never, ever, toss a draft, and I don't like making substantial edits on the computer because once things are deleted they are gone with no trace they ever existed. Crossing things out by hand, however, still lets me see what I crossed out.
     
  8. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I recently came across some printed-off sections of an earlier draft of my book. The final version I've saved onto a USB stick.

    I also have a couple of notebooks, and various loose sheets of paper with lyrics etc from my teen years.

    Otherwise, not much. Some stuff was lost. I don't like keeping lots of clutter (physically or on the computer.)

    Never worried about someone nicking my stuff.
     
  9. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    Mine are all on my hard drive and backed up as well. I can't bring myself to throw out any of my writing.
     
  10. Explosion
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    Explosion Guest

    I don't think I will be doing that in the future... seeing how in every draft there is a change and I think that you can "salvage" every draft at least a bit.
     
  11. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    A full manuscript, 100K words in Word, won't take up more than 1Mb. I have a 16GB USB stick with ALL my work on it and room to spare. Every time I rewrite/edit an MS significantly, I will give the MS a consecutive number, so I don't lose sight of which version is the latest, but I keep all my drafts. And I have printed/typed pages of my pre-computer MS versions.
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    That is why i always make a copy on my computer and make the changes in the new copy rather than the "original" one. That way I can see what the previous version was like at any time.
     
  13. astrostu
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    astrostu Member

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    Bits and bytes - all old drafts are saved on the 'puter.
     
  14. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I edit as I go along so I mostly destroy my first ideas. I've recently started sending a copy of submissions to my mother, and e-mailing them to her as well. She keeps the unopened envelopes (about 8 so far) in case I ever need to prove copyright. I keep other stuff on USB sticks, but they are really easy to mislay. We once lost two computers in a robbery as well, so I don't recommend having that as the only place you store work.
     
  15. Mystique23
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    Mystique23 Member

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    I delete a draft if it's only a slightly different from my finished story. But if it's a totally different idea (i.e a plot line I rejected, or a character I developed and decided was superfluous) i keep a copy of that chapter/paragraph in a word file dedicated to odd ends and bits.
     

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