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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Lifesaver Block

Have you ever made something? You know, sewn a dress, quilted, or even, say, built a house? I've done a bit of all these things, and while I've done my share of unpicking, remodeling, and pulling out nails, I seem to do way more editing (remodeling) in my articles and books. What's worse, I've rarely, if ever, wished I hadn't unpicked that seam or pulled out that nail, but I've frequently wished I hadn't deleted a certain paragraph or sentence so soon.

When such a scenario happened during my early writing years, my only option was to groan and move on. Not anymore. Now I keep two files up on my screen. One is the piece I'm working on, and the other is one I title, "(Name of article or book) Misc." Then, when I'm writing, or especially when I'm editing, and I decide to remove a section (especially a large section), I transfer it to the misc file and save it.

I can't tell you how much calmer and easier this simple process has made my writing life. True, "Misc" ends up being a large file of stuff I'll never use, but there have been MANY times I've pulled things--including entire scenes--from it and either reused it or reworked it somewhere else in the piece. It's been a true lifesaver.

I bet it would be for you, too. If you try it.


storyengineer said...

In case I delete something I want back, I always start a new draft in a new file. If I'm doing a huge rewrite, where only a few things stay the same, I'll start with a blank document and copy over what I want to keep. If I'm only making small changes, I'll do a "save-as" to create a new file, and make the changes from there.

Weston Elliott said...

that's too funny - my misc file is always titled "Bits". Like you, it was a hard learned lesson!

C.L. Beck said...

Great suggestion! And who knows, we might even find a use for those "misc" bits and pieces in another story.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by my "Meandering Thoughts" blog and commenting on "A Simple Touch of the Heart." I appreciate your kind comments.

Anna Maria Junus said...

Great idea.