I have a system to keep my files organized for Mr. Manuscript. I have a master folder that holds all my projects on the desktop. Inside that folder there are separate folders for each project. Within each project folder there is another series of folders to keep the files organized. For Mr. Manuscript this includes separate folders for drafts, critiques, pictures, cuttings (scenes that didn’t make it), etc. Outside these folders, floating in the manuscript folder are the files being worked on along with files that don’t quite fit in the other folders. One of those files is the complete manuscript where I break chapters in and out for revision as if they were legos.
Confusing? Yes, it is. There is no easy way to keep the chapters organized once they removed from the manuscript. I ended up wasting lots of time looking for the right version of the right chapter to work on. Instead of writing and developing I spend time shuffling around in the folders opening file after file looking for what I should be working on. Once I do find it I often forget what I was going to do with it.
Enter yWriter5 by Spacejock, a free piece of software made specifically for writing a novel. It keeps everything handy and organized without me having to fuss around. On one side of the screen it maintains a list of chapters along with a wordcount. It organizes each chapter into scenes and shows what stage of writing they are in (rough, draft, done, etc). It will also track what occurs in each scene, what characters appear, what items are used, the location, and the time and day the event occurred.
Anything you would like to keep track of there is a way to do it in yWriter. I can even upload those character pictures I found directly into the character bios.
I’m still learning all the different ins and outs of the software, but so far I really like what it has enabled me to do in a short amount of time. It eliminates the flustered feeling of sitting down and not knowing what I need to work on. Now, I can open it up, see exactly where I am, and actually work. If I don’t want to compose a scene there are plenty of other things I can work on through the program, character bios, outlines for chapters yet to be created, names and uses of items that appear, and the list goes on.
If you are feeling stuck in your novel-writing, give it a try. It might be just what you need to get moving.