Saturday, June 15, 2013

The archive file trick: how to throw away old story notes

When I work on stories, I generate a ton of notes. I find, though, that a lot of these notes are transient things that I don't need a few days later. And I typically want to pare down the notes that I'm referring to while I work on a draft, because if the file of notes is too long, it's hard to use. Plus, as things change, notes become out of date.

Also, a lot of my notes are simply lists of ideas: as soon as I get stuck on 'what's a good way for CactusMan to defeat the Crimson Tide's Blood Tank', I start a list.

(He sticks it to 'em though, of course. That's what CactusMan does.)

But it's hard to delete notes, as I worry that I'll need them later.

In recent projects, what I do to pare things down is throw the notes I'm done with in an archive file. That way they're not deleted and if I really need them, I can go find them.

I almost never do; they just hang out in the archive notes file forever. But that's okay. Having that reduces my inhibitions about throwing things out and cleaning up, and so I can clean out the cruft more easily.

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