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Writing / Research Tip Tuesday #24

I have a Tuesday Tip from the fabulous Heather Hansen today.  Please visit her blog and considering following.  She's fun and hilarious! 

If you're a perpetual editor/nitpicker in drafts and your editing includes cutting large sections of text (like me!), it's helpful to back up your work periodically in a new file. That way you can always go back to an earlier version if you need to rescue something you inadvertently cut. To make it easy, I use a current file (NAMEOFNOVEL-CURRENT) and then save my back up files using the date for easy retrieval. Such as:

2010.01.15 NAMEOFNOVEL
2010.01.26 NAMEOFNOVEL
2010.02.03 NAMEOFNOVEL

Heather does this for each draft!  Isn't she so organized?  I only back up drafts when I'm revising and making huge changes, but I think I'm going to adopt this method from now on.  It has to be nice in those instances where you've rewritten a paragraph or chapter and think you might have liked the first version best after all.  And it means you're constantly backing up as well.  Thanks Heather!


  1. That's a good tip, but I'm not quite that organized.

    Usually, I create a document file called, "NameOfNovel, deleted text".

    I hate losing good words knowing some day I might need them again.

  2. I got this tip from a professor way back when. Super advice. I've been very glad on several occasions.

  3. I'm like Maria--I create a "NameOfNovel, Outtakes" file. And I've used it to rescue things on several occasions.

  4. Another good system is to use Google Docs. It automatically save every change you've ever made!!!

  5. Love your suggestion, Heather. I normally keep an "outtakes" file like Jocelyn and Maria, but your idea seems a little more organized. (By the way, I checked out your blog, and congratulations on finishing the edit!)

  6. Oh, I do this. I think it must be a characteristic of pantsers. We're afraid we'll lose that golden gem, and since we have no order or outline, the only thing we DO have is fifty million versions of the novel. Ha ha!

  7. That is a fantastic idea... I can definitely use that...

    Thanks for the tip !!!

  8. That's a really good idea :)

    I usually have a document "NameofNovel.CutText" that I keep open while editing so I save every word I cut... JUST in case :)

    Also, one of my backup methods is to e-mail myself a copy of my draft each time I've worked on it.

  9. Much more organized that my system. The names of my files make sense to me at the time, but I like the by date idea. Thanks.

  10. I save my stuff as separate chapters, so I could have a lot of files if I used this method, but I think it's great for people who save as one document. Like Maria and Jocelyn I do a deleted scenes doc. Though since I write about racing I call it "Spare Parts" :)

  11. I have a huge amount of storage in my email, so I send the new version of my MS to myself every time I change it. The date is on the email, so there's no need to change the title. It has saved my life on more than one occasion! Poor man's backup! :)

    Great post!

    xoxo -- Hilary

  12. I love this idea. I do it to a certain degree, but I hadn't been using dates. I've been going by the changing title. I'm going to have to start using the dates.

    I also keep a file for cuts when they are a paragraph or larger and save them in a file called NAMEOFNOVEL cuts.

  13. This is a fantastic tip. Every time I make substantial changes I rename the file to d1, d2, d3... etc. And, I've also created an outtake file for stuff I don't need but may regret deleting.

  14. I had too many versions of my last ms floating around and it got confusing, so now when I clean up the ms, I clean it up for good...only one version, the best one. If I cut entire passages, I save those to one page of cuts.