Just call me the garbage lady

Today I wrote pretty much all day. I fixed up to chapter 11 and then had to reorder, which meant pulling out the chapter outline and conforming that so I wouldn’t mess up.** The fixing also included deleting a lot of garbage. I was going to knock off at 7:30 but it turned out I was only up 1600 words or so, so I went back to work and for a while there I was deleting more stuff. But then I had this totally awesome idea for my twins and that made the deleting easier. Anyway, now I’m up 2009 and my back hurts and my shoulders are sore because my dog and my cat insist on sharing my lap and I have to keep my legs together and my thighs straight so the dog doesn’t slide off. This MUST be giving me awesome back muscles, right?

** For a long time, I used to give my chapters long descriptive names, but that got to be too much of a hassle because I was constantly having to fix my master document. I have a master document with the main formatting etc and I keep the individual chapters as sub documents. When I need to (like when I’m printing off the whole thing or need to know the total word count) I merge my chapters into the master document. And then, automagically, my chapters number themselves sequentially and the pagination of each chapter picks up from the last page of the previous one. So, I eventually took to naming my chapters 001. 002, etc. This does mean I have to be careful about inserting a chapter somewhere in the sequence, but I have a system that works for me. Maintaining my master document is now a total breeze. My chapter outline is also auto numbered by chapter, but with an internal reference to the actual chapter number. That makes it easy to do virtual moves of the chapters in the outline and lets me know that, say, chapter 16 needs to be renamed chapter 12, with 13-15 being renumbered accordingly. Believe it or not, this is a lot less error prone and much less work than my descriptive names for chapters (and yes, I also started those names with a number.) I spend a lot less time now fixing chapter order errors than I used to.

The thing is, I’m constantly moving chapters around. I’m sure there are writers out there who don’t have to do this, but I do. I try to write my stories front to back, but stuff always happens in the middle that changes everything and events need to move around chronologically to accommodate a better story arc.

Now I’m going to bed.


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2 Responses to “Just call me the garbage lady”

  1. Patti O'Shea says:


    When we’re both off deadline, I’ll have to ask you how to do master documents in WP. I end up cutting and pasting them in one large document after the first draft is done and that’s a pita.

    Patti, who’s so tired she can’t see straight

    PS: Good luck

  2. Carolyn says:

    I’ll send you my templates. It was a bear to figure out the renumbering part (as always, Help was vague and ambiguous) but once I had it, it was fantastic. HUGE timesaver. After May 4th, I’ll send the files.