One thing that I get asked a lot (surprisingly, by readers more than writers) is:
How do you keep all of your thoughts and stories organized when you have so many?
Now, I’m not sure if these people mean to ask what it’s like inside of my head? Loud. It’s loud.
Or maybe they are asking how I keep my notes, outlines, plots, characters, and actual materials to write my stories separate and distinct on my laptop/computer so that I don’t get confused?
Well, since I’ve already explained the inside of my head in 3 words or less, let me use a lot more to explain my laptop/computer.
In fact, I won’t just use my words…I’ll use pictures!
This picture is of the files in my main writing folder. This separates my major series from all of my other LGBTQ+ books (YA, NA, Lit Fic, Fantasy, MG, etc.). I don’t have separate folders by genre because even I am not that crazy. Just separating major series from everything else is a good start in organization for me.
Many of you might have questions about that first folder. Well, that’s not what this post is about. Sorries. You are all familiar with (or know of) the A Point Worth LGBTQ Paranormal Romance (Jacob Michaels Is…) series, and I’ve announced the Thatcher Graves series on Twitter already. These folders hold all of the books for those series, just as the LGBTQ Books folder has folders for each of my other works.
The Word document for Back Matter and Front Matter are the files that hold the material that goes at the front of each book and the back of each book. This makes it easy to copy and paste into any new work. The Book Synopses folder holds general synopses for each of my books–I write these when I think of a book idea/plot so that I don’t forget. Lastly, Passages to Use are little snippets of writing (maybe even just a sentence long) that came to mind and I had to type out before I forgot what I had in mind. These are passages that don’t fit into whatever manuscript I’m currently working on, so I save them for a future book.
This picture is the inside of the LGBTQ Books folder. As you can tell, these are folders that hold all of my books that have not been released, along with a folder that holds works that are completed and published (Completed TLFP). This helps me to separate things that I’m currently working on and things that I am not currently working on. Well, some of these books I’m not really working on much anymore because they’re basically done, but they’re not published, so they stay in this folder.
Simple enough, right?
Let’s take a look inside an actual book folder. This is the inside of the folder for SENDING LOVE LETTERS TO ANIMALS AND OTHER TOTALLY NORMAL HUMAN BEHAVIORS (available for pre-order now!).
Inside the folder, I have several subfolders. I have a folder that contains all of the Chapter Header artwork, the files that will go into publishing the ebook, hardback, and paperbacks. I have a folder that holds miscellaneous book art, and “other files.” “Other Files” is generally weird shit that I used when outlining or plotting that doesn’t really have a use anymore.
This makes it easy for me to locate a specific file that I need for a book I’m currently working on. Granted, some of these files, are just the source files from other people’s work, but I still have them in case. For example, I did not design the cover(s) for SENDING LOVE LETTERS TO ANIMALS… but the person who did the covers sent me the files to save. It’s always good to have copies of the source files for your covers if you can manage it, my fellow authors.
This all probably seems anti-climactic now that you’ve seen the innards of my computer files, but this is how I organize my book(s) files. Hopefully, it will give you some ideas!
Tremendous Love & Thanks,