This Blog #2 For Fiction Writers combines persuasion and instruction.
Here's the pitch: Create your novel in one big file, rather than each chapter in a separate file. (Already there? Read on for a couple more points.)
Why not one file? Let me count the ways:
1) You get a page count and word count at the bottom of the screen (and I will not yield an inch to those who say automatic word counts won't do.)
2) You can do a global search-and-replace, say if "Billy" must become "Tyrone", instead of opening and repeating the change in 30-odd chapters,
3) If you fear you have overused "just" or "irrevocably" you can easily search the whole document,
4) Your chapters are in the right order and can be re-ordered and renamed.
There are probably more reasons, but that's enough for now.
But wait, you cry! The file will be too big and therefore slow. The file for my latest 256 page, 85,000 word novel Did Not Survive is 676 kb. A recent picture of my dog came in at 4.38 mg, or over 6 times as big. Text files are small. If your computer can't handle a file of less than 1 mg., no one can help you.
But what if I want to print only one chapter at a time? You still can. Put a section break at the end of every chapter instead of a page break. (Instructions follow.) Don't add any other section breaks. (We are keeping this simple.) Then, go to the print dialog box. Where it offers you the option of entering a page range, enter S3 for section 3, which is chapter 3, or S12 for chapter 12. Then click the print button. That chapter is all that will print. You can even enter S1-S4 to print Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4.
But it's hard to find the chapter I want to work on. One way to find the start of the chapter is to search for the title, say, Chapter 3. But I will describe a more elegant way in a future post, when you assign a style (Style 1) to each chapter title and turn on Document View.
How to insert a section break: You want it the end of the chapter (or beginning of the next chapter, same thing).
Word 2007 for Vista: Go to the Page Layout tab, then the Page Setup section. Find "Breaks". Look at the list and select Section Break/Next Page.
Word 2003 for XP: Insert/Break. Select Section break types/Next page.
Word 2004 for Mac: Go to Insert on the top tool bar. Find Break/Section Break (Next Page).
With Show/Hide turned on (see previous Monday blog), you'll now see a double line with the words "Section Break (Next Page) in mid-page".
If your WIP is in separate chapters now, here's how to put them all into one file. Back them up first, of course. Then open Chapter 1, go to the bottom, and enter a section break. Leave the cursor right where it is.
Word 2007 for Vista: Go to the Insert tab. Way over to the right in the Text section is Object. Pull the menu down and select Text from File.
Word 2003 for XP: Insert/File
Word 2004 for Mac: Insert/File
A dialog box opens up. Navigate to the next chapter and select Insert. Repeat as needed.
Next week: Assigning a style to your chapter titles and the benefits thereof.
As ever, comments, corrections, and criticsm are welcomed.
I'm sleeping easy because I backed up my WIP.