dinsdag 3 juli 2012

Order and precision VS Chaos and sloppiness

Magnum Chaos, eats your writings while you sleep
So how do you do it? You see that stack of paper in your writing chamber growing larger and larger; your mother, girlfriend, room mate has given you lectures about how you should keep things orderly once again. How do you keep your writings orderly and consistent?
Everyone has his/her own ways for sure. Some have lines of files along the walls with paperwork, others have their computers bursting with information.
What are the benefits of maintaining order in your writings? Well, obviously it keeps you from forgetting things, especially when you have a thousand characters and locations. More important though, is to keep Chaos (as depicted here) from destroying your writings. Nothing is as frustrating as having to start all over because you lost your files in the mess you created, having to lose time searching for that one character description that is hidden inside a million sub-folders.
My personal efforts to maintain order in my writings have led me to explore the benefits of several tools, from foreign hosting to wikifying. I'll list some possibilities here for you.

1) Your head
There's nothing as secure and insecure as your own head. You invented it so it's already in there. It's unlikely that someone is going to pry open your head to see what's inside. Your information is directly available to you. The downside, however, is that your head is only as good a storage as how good your memory is. Magnum Chaos knows where to feast.

2) Paper
The storage medium of the past millennia, paper is versatile and in low quantity stores easily. In large quantity  it tends to overflow, however, and it's very fragile and dusty. It requires good order and maintenance to keep it in good quality. Paper in combination with your head is the best back-up for digital files.

3) Digital data on your own computer
3.1 Files and folders
I don't advise making one big document containing everything. Make A separate document for characters, locations and so on. Use folders to divide these. Keep back-ups because file corruption and disc wipes can cause serious problems.
3.2 Offline Wiki
Offline Wiki's are great. Almost exactly like online wiki's but stored in the safe haven of your computer. They're easy to set up and easy to use. There are many variants but this is one I used for a long time: http://www.tiddlywiki.com/
Easy categorization, easy search function. Just keep a back-up just in case.
3.3 Writing Programs
Some programs help you keep things in order for you as you write. This is a  free-to-use example called yWriter: http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html

4) Digital data on foreign servers
The solution against data corruption on your computer. Using a foreign server has both its benefits and its downsides. Data hosts like google sites and blogger make for a good way to keep your writing in order. They even have wiki functions. The Otherworld Tales itself makes use of these foreign servers now to keep things neat and clean.

Obviously, these aren't all the possibilities for data storage. A myriad of these are available over the web and in life. The article you just read is only about the ones I have personally used for my Otherworld Tales Project and if you wish to add to this article, do not hesitate to place a comment under this post.

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