Every project you begin needs to be tracked. You will have research files at the start of the process, documents while composing drafts, submission records, edits and marketing efforts, to name a few. There will be many versions of the same project as it goes through editing phases. Therefore, you will need to keep track of all these versions.
There are storage needs for both hard copy and electronic records. They should mirror each other for easiest retrieval.
1. Start a folder or file box for every new project, such as a magazine article or novel. The size of the project will determine the size of the file.
2. Include in the file anything related to the project. This would be character sketches, plotting worksheets, chapter outlines, floor plans, maps, photos and family trees, for example.
3. Create a spreadsheet timeline for your novel to keep track of time. If your setting begins on a Sunday, you don't want to reference Thursday or Friday the following day in the book.
4. For projects with many characters, create a family tree to show each character's relation to another. This helps keep track of character's ages also, if the book spans several years.
5. Use chapter worksheets to track character conflict and growth. A story can't move forward without these elements. So make sure every chapter has them.
Next week: Part Two of Organizing Project Files