Ever wonder how writers keep track of their chapters, as their books start to gather momentum? How do writers organise their drafts? How do they manage their hard copies? Should you keep everything you print off?
For me, it’s the magic of a simple coat rack. This is how I build my books. I hang the chapters in chronological order, starting at the right hand side of the coat rack.
Watching that coat rack fill up with chapters and fragments is fabulous! It is enormously satisfying to see those sheets of paper pile up as I edit hard copies. This is the fourth book I have written using this method. I bought this coat rack at the Santo Spirito market years ago. It was originally attached to the corridor walls of a nearby primary school.
By the time I’ve finished this novel there will be about 200,000 words hanging along this coat rack. The average contract for a novel is for 80,000 words. But after I’ve ‘killed my darlings’ (deleted what I thought was precious) and tossed unusable drafts, there will be at least 200,000 words of text hanging along that rack.
My office is on the top floor of my house in Florence. Under the rafters. So this couch keeps me sane when reading through either my own drafts or text from the writers I mentor through the Art of Writing.
As the winter months enclose us here in Italy, I look forward to keeping in touch with you. Sorry I’ve been out of touch but am going into my ‘cave’ (office) to hibernate and write now, so you can expect to hear quite a lot from me.
What’s your system? How do you keep your chapters in order? Do you print them off and have a filing system that could give us an organisational idea?
Thank you too to Birgitte Brondsted at the Dusty Green Olive who wrote this lovely story on me and my office a while ago. Check it out here.