Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chapter titles v. numbers

When I first started Kelly’s Reef I assumed that I would start with chapter 1 and write to the Epilog. So I numbered each chapter in sequence. Some were CHAPTER, some chapter, some Chap., and others chap. No rhyme or reason.

I quickly learned that I needed to go back and add plot details as I went. I became hopelessly lost in my own writing.

Ah, Ha! I went back and relabeled the chapters as CHAPTER #__ in a larger font. Now I could use the find function in Word. Still couldn’t find my way through the story, but at least I could find each chapter.

Next evolution was to a descriptive chapter name after the CHAPTER #. Now I knew what was in each chapter.

As the edit, rewrite work began I found myself cutting my ‘darling’ chapters⎯the crap that had no business in the book. So much for numbers on the chapters. Then I moved an entire section from the middle of the novel to the beginning.

I was terrified to delete a chapter I had rewritten⎯what if I really wanted to put the junk back in?

Solution? Each chapter became a separate Word document. CHAPTER 1.1, 1.2, etc. Then the fool in me decided to renumber the chapters into the current sequence. Now I couldn’t even find the old chapters.

The point of this diatribe you ask?

DON’T NUMBER THE CHAPTERS AS YOU WRITE! When all is said and done, you can add numbers just before you send the manuscript to the printer.

Currently I have CHAPTER- description at each heading. I can find my way around the manuscript and switch things any way I want without a problem. Now when I do a re-write/ edit I save the newest copy of the entire manuscript with a date.

Just my 2 cents worth.

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