Monday, 18 April 2011

Putting it all together

Having written many, many scenes, I'm attempting a cut and paste manouever...manouvre...manoeuvre (got it) to make one complete narrative. At this point I wish that I hadn't got lazy when I saved drafts and let the first line be the file name. Now I have three scenes with very similar names and one with the mysterious name 'the scrape of a door opening and a length of', very catchy. I wonder what that's all about? None of which mattered when I had three scenes but is very inconvenient once you get to eighty odd. 
Organising drafts and different versions into some sort of order has become more and more of an issue. Since I started writing again, I have managed to write (and collected research) that adds up to 4GB, I even had to buy a much bigger memory stick and save it to DVD instead of CD when I remember about backups. 'Backup?' I hear a few of you say, the few of you who haven't had a catastrophic hard drive meltdown. Just do it, save the whole lot and keep it elsewhere. I have my (now 8GB) memory stick on my car keys, that way if the whole house burns down at least I'm not starting from scratch. 
But how to organise files? I started a poem called 'Mermaids' for a course I did, A215. It's in the A215 folder, then a later draft is in the sub-folder A215/poetry drafts, the final version is in A215/assignments and subsequent versions are scattered throughout my folders like lost lambs. My favourite short story has eight locations, each version slightly different and I can't remember where the best one is. So I've decided this can't wait for the autumn when the deadlines relax, I need to make some sense of it now and at least round up all the drafts (in the four folders in which I've put drafts of the novel) of scenes and chapters from the book. 
Here are just a few of my folders, all bulging with...something!
Today's distraction/deflection from actually writing involves counting the number of folders (110) and multiplying by the average number of files inside (160) which makes (mumbling over fingers and old envelope) 17600 files. One folder has twenty eight sub-folders in it and over 1000 files. I've written and collected seventeen thousand drafts of poems, short stories, scenes and chapters of books and essays. No wonder I'm having problems finding anything. I realise this is the result of saving drafts with the suffix 'a', 'b' etc. after them, so a piece of work might end up with ten drafts, but I do go back and look at early drafts. And who could resist saving an article on plastic surgery for ugly dogs? Surely a whole story in there somewhere. 
It's a good job I don't print it all out, that's all I'm saying. There's a weekend I'm not going to get back, organising all that....   

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