Saturday, January 3, 2009


I'd written up to a scene I'd written two years ago - but where was it on my computer? I finally found it (note to self: find new file naming strategy) but then couldn't open it because I'd written it in Appleworks on my old Mac G5. I became obsessed with opening the file because I knew that I could just rework the scene a little and my word count for the day would be done. Plus, the scene was great - I just knew it - in fact it could be the best scene I've ever written, if only I could open it.

I trolled around the Mac Appleworks forum but the discussion was far too techy for a mere mortal such as myself. Was it really that hard to convert old files? More panic - had I lost everything I'd ever written in Appleworks? Sure, I had hard copies. Somewhere. I think. But I hadn't moved them to the UK because I had everything on my laptop. Ughhhhh.

I eventually read that old Appleworks files could be opened using Pages and it was SO simple. Yea! I finally re-read my brilliant scene only to find it wasn't quite as great as I thought. In fact, aside from a few description lines, I couldn't use it at all. I had to write the whole scene from scratch after all. So much for shortcuts!

Do you have a good file naming strategy? How do you keep your chapters/books organized on your computer?


Dru said...

Great showing on your word count.

Marianne Arkins said...

I have a folder for each WIP (why are there so MANY??) and I have a terrible habit of writing random scenes so name them as they are:

"Clint give Laurie a bulletproof vest"

"Camilla and Jed get it on in the taxi"

"Geoff is sprayed by Emmy with the hose"

Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don't, but I get vivid scenes playing out in my brain and they simply scream to be written.

Thankfully, I haven't ever written them on software that becomes obsolete.


Good job writing!

Ceri Hebert said...

Ouch. I've been in your shoes before. Many is the time I've sat with my pile of floppy disks, shoving them into the A drive of an ancient computer in hopes of recovering something really important.

My files are a mess, but I try to keep everything at least in their own folders and attempt to keep THOSE organized. And I have 3 different flash drives and several email accounts that I send stuff to.

Organization is not my forte.


edeevee said...

One of my favorite time wasters is the Fun With Charts site. Reading your entry I pictured a pie chart labeled FILE ACCESSIBILITY V. BRILLIANCE. Of course the biggest, most brilliant slice would be the one you can never open again :)

And no, sadly, I do not have a good file naming strategy.

Melissa said...

I use the initials for the first letter of the working title for each book at the start of all files. So if it's in a book I can search on those letters and find it. I usually write in one big file though. And if I'm doing random scenes, I'll often paste them into a file with the intials and a TBD so they are all in one place.

Keri Mikulski said...

Great work! ;) I'm with Marianne.. I have a folder for each idea that hangs out on my desktop until I'm ready to tackle it.

Joanie said...

Like Marianne, I have a folder for everything and put all of my chapters within the named folder. However, so I don't have to troll endless lists of folders, I have projects sorted into My Novel Fiction, My Nonfiction, My Short Stories, etc. Then in the My Novel Fiction folder I have genre folders, so a murder mystery, for example, named SheDunnit would be in the following path: My Novel Fiction/Mystery/SheDunnit, and all the files for SheDunnit would be in that folder.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I used to keep separate files for separate scenes. Now I lump the whole darned thing together and date the various drafts. Sometimes, also, I "pluck" a scene for special work, but then I just stick it back into the ms file. For some reason this works better for me than when I tried to be more organized.

Go figure.

Tiffany said...

Wow! Some great ideas! Thanks everyone.