Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Words, Words and Word

Today I managed 1211 words. Pretty pathetic, especially as it registers just over 1 measly percent on the word meter. I'm not sure I'm going to like our little tracker friend on the short term.

A recent article in WRITERS' Journal magazine (an American print publication) made a strong case for writing an entire book in one MS Word file. Personally I put chapters in individual files. When it comes to editing, the writer of the article believes, it's easier to make changes—especially when you revisit months later—by using the handy Find and Replace feature: to check the spelling of minor character's names throughout the entire manuscipt, consistency of description, and the integrity of a character's speech patterns and diction, for instance.

In the past I found Word went a bit mad if the document exceeded 100 or 200 pages. Is it time for me to give the program another chance? What's your opinion? Small, individual files or one big one?



Anonymous Karen Lee Field said...

For me, I like to save each chapter individually. I save them all in one folder and then make a new folder for the edit (just in case I go beserk and change everything and then realise I had a crazy moment).

12:39 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

Sound advice, Karen. Backups are a great idea. Sometimes I change things and wish I hadn't!

1:49 pm  
Anonymous Sharon J said...

I have everything in one big file, but I guess it depends on your PC whether or not it likes handling big files or not. Every time I change it, I copy it over to my stick thingy (can't think what they're called) so that I have a backup.

I also use the document map option so that I can easily see where each chapter starts and, because I give my scenes simple titles (they'll be removed before I send it out, obviously) one click is all that's needed to go back to the start of such and such a scene.

1 percent's better than 0 percent, which is exactly what I've clocked up over the past two days.

2:31 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

Sharon, thanks for the document map tip. I'll give it a go. It sounds preferable to using master documents and subdocuments.

I've been averaging 1 percent a day this week on a particularly tough chapter - tough because it appears I must rethink the plot (or so my writer's instinct tells me). Hate that!

6:59 pm  
Blogger Sue aka MsCreativity said...

Hi Eva!
Now this is s-a-d. I do both. In fact I do more than both. (are you sorry you asked yet? [VBG]
I have two folders: draft and polished. I create a separate document for each individual chapter but I also have a document for the entire manuscript. When I've made progress in a chapter I copy and paste it into the document for the entire manuscript. I am finding I *need* to visibly see that my novel is growing.
Remember: I am Queen Procrastinator, so when I get stuck (yes, *that* often), I while away my time, pretending to be working, when all I'm doing is copying and pasting from one file to another! :-)
Oh yes, and they all have back-ups too. (Is it any wonder my wordcount doesn't grow?!)

6:52 pm  
Blogger Sue aka MsCreativity said...

Ps. I just noticed you have a link to my blog! Wow! Thank you!! :-)

6:53 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

Hi MsCreativity,

I found your blog through Sharon J's. I even commented today. A lurker no more!

I like your idea. Currently I'm trying to perfect my knowledge of Adobe Acrobat Reader, so I've been saving chapters deemed complete to pdf...which means I do the same thing you do! Plus I backup to my website which has more space than I need. And if I get truly paranoid there's always the laptop (I prefer the keyboard of my old, outdated desktop) not to mention my trusty memory stick!
Aya caramba!

7:48 pm  

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