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>>>>When writing a novel, do you keep it in one long file, or do you break it up as you write it and put it in different documents??

If you go back through the threads on this board (back around May/June, I think) there was a discussion on this subject. Apparently MS Word has a problem with corrupting master docs (i.e., one doc that links to all the constituent docs that make up a book). At one time I had converted my book (just the first few chapters at that point) into a master doc and individual chapters. But the discussion here dissuaded me from that course and I went back to one big file. As it turns out, all 18 chapters, the prologue, and the epilogue (nearly 86,000 words) take up only 600K.

The reason I originally went with the master doc idea was for security. I was nervous about the idea of accidentally deleting or corrupting the one file that contained the entire book. My thought was that with multiple files, I probably couldn't lose more than one chapter, barring a disk crash.

But I finally decided that as long as I made backup copies of the document on at least a daily basis, it shouldn't be a problem. So each day I copy the file to one of two floppies (alternating by day) and send another copy to my work e-mail, for an offsite backup. Then every few days, I save the file to a new name (tessarene1.doc, tessarene2.doc, tessarene3.doc, etc.) so that, failing everything else, I have a recent copy of the file in case the current (and all its backups) gets corrupted somehow. Plus, I try to make current printouts of every chapter I have updated in the last day or two, so at least I have a hard copy (both to scribble on during offline editing and as an emergency fallback to recreate any recent changes that might have been lost when the current copy/backups became corrupted.

Another advantage of keeping all the incremental versions of the book is that should I ever decide to scrap some significant changes that I have made, I can revert to the previous version of a scene or chapter by copying it from an earlier saved version.

It might sound excessive, but years ago, while finishing up my first book, I accidentally deleted the HD directory where my book was stored and almost lost everything two weeks before the manuscript deadline. (Fortunately, I had enough recent backups on diskette and on my wife's computer that I ended losing only the current day's edits--still on the hardcopy--and about 4 hours of my time.)

Other advantages of one big file include simpler global search/replace, and not having to worry about page numbers from one file to another. (A master doc would also take care of both of these, but if you're not using a master doc...).

I hope this helps.

Mark.
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