Furry Writers' Guild Forum

What's a good way to keep your writing files organized?

Lately I’ve been running up against this and I’m I feel I should be a little more organized about it since having a file named ‘angry meerkat’ could later conflict with another document about an angry meerkat. Then most likely loose track of things hundreds of documents down the line, since right now I just use the one folder with only one sub-folder.

Mostly I’m interested in seeing other people’s ideas and methods. Personally I don’t want to compartmentalize too much because I enjoy the free flow of opening an idea and scrap and working on that.

Right now, I have been organizing my files by the stage of the process they are in. “Current Projects” are stories I’m actively working on. “Beta Reader” are files going through the editing process. And finally I have a “Finished Projects” for the files of stories that have been submitted or posted.

Most of my files are named with either the theme of the story, or the title of the anthology I am submitting to. (So, my ROAR story was just “Roar.docx” until I moved it to the “Beta Read” folder and renamed with the story title.)

I feel this system needs a little tweaking, but it’s been working for me.

Hmm yeah, that’s really helpful. Thank you.

I will second having status folders, with individual projects in folders within them.

I assign a fairly unique filename to everything, even if it’s only a working title or even if I intend to use something fairly generic as the real, actual title, simply to avoid confusion down the road. But the big secret that I’ve learned is to add the date to the file. Then, I change the date as I do my editing, so that I can save and distinguish between all my versions in case I decide I don’t like what I’ve done and wish to revert. For example, I know at a glance, even years later that “Resisting Arrest 24 May 2003” is not as thoroughly edited as “Resisting Arrest 7 August 2003”. This helps a lot particularly in tracking and selling very old material.

Another hint, if you decide to adopt this system… For a work in progress, I just leave the filename with a month-date, not a specific day. For example, my current work in progress is “Draco, The Dragon December 2016”. That way I can work on it day to day without having to mess with altering the file name. It’s close enough, until editing time.

I haven’t checked lately, but I’d guess I currently have an archive of several hundred manuscript files (note this is part because I keep my revisions) and this system really helps me a lot. It was very frustrating before I developed it.

[ul][list]Of course, we all have different styles. Here’s mine:

  • Writing Folder
  • Completed - Folder
  • Cuts- Folder
  • Editing Further - Folder - For when I get beta’s back
  • Super short stuff I don’t plan to edit further - Folder (under another title)
  • Individual files or longer works
  • Editing - Folder
  • This folder has individual files I’m editing, things I’m not quite happy with and/or not yet ready to beta
  • WIP - Folder
  • Cuts - Folder
  • As above, contains things cuts from the pieces I am actively working on. Will move to the above “Cuts” folder once I’m happy with the initial draft
  • Folders for collections, like a story with chapters I started in multiple files and kept it that way - Folder (under another title)
  • Individual files I’m currently working on

The way I title my files usually varies. If it is a work in progress for an anthology and I don’t have a title (like I have one now), I’ll title it by the anthology name (ie: Altered Beast - WIP). Or I’ll title the piece off of what inspired the story. If I’m lucky, I’ll actually have a title I really like and I’ll leave it with that. And I usually only have one file active at a time, so I don’t worry about dating the files (Microsoft also documents the last date the file was modified, so that helps). Though I sometimes forget what a piece was by the title alone, but usually I’m not working on it actively, so it’s not the end of the world.

Just one more perspective on the subject. [/list][/ul]