When you’re writing it’s important to keep everything sorted and in a place where you can quickly find it, in case you need some previous note, essay, chapter or short story for reference. It’s also important to have ‘graveyards’, places to store unused ideas or bits of story that got cut from one place but might have a use somewhere else. Keeping all of that straight is a real challenge.
Fortunately, the electronic world has made all that a little bit easier. At least you don’t have to muck around with actual paper files, sorting can be done with a bit of dragging and dropping and you can back everything up in the cloud, to reduce the chances of loosing something in an accident at home or just through simple careless clicking.
Having a good filing system is important. But presenting things in a clear and concise way is just as important. If you have more than one set of stories you’re presenting, make sure people can tell which is which. As I mentioned when I talked about titles, sometimes you can do that just by how you name your stories. You may choose to give an overarching story a single title and give each installment a subtitle. Maybe you’ll just number your books, or combine some aspect of all three of those options. But whatever you do, the burden is on you, the author, to make sure your audience can clearly tell what stories go where.
It’s not fatal to you if things are a little muddled, and that’s especially forgivable at the beginning if you’re not sure exactly where you’re going or what’s going to catch on; but, especially once you’ve been running for a while, it can be a turn off for new readers if they can’t tell what goes where and in what order.
And on that note, it’s time to mention a few changes that are happening around this blog as regards categories. When I started this blog it was with the primary intention of pushing the Project Sumter stories and possibly occasionally mentioning other things I’m working on. But, as you’ve probably already gathered if you’ve read my six month’s forward post, I’m planning to introduce a few other sets of stories on here in the new future. Simply put, my plans for the blog have changed.
The fiction index page remains, and I’ll keep putting new settings and the related stories in there. Each setting will have a listing of all short stories (and novels, if any get written) I’ve written in that setting, in the order they are written. Also, I plan to have every Heat Wave chapter (and every novel chapter in the future) contain a link to the previous and next chapters, to make navigating back through them easier for new readers.
I’m also redoing categories a bit. Since this blog was originally just intended for Sumter stories the two major categories for fiction were serialization, I intended to have a subcategory for Heat Wave. Each following novel would have it’s own subcategory and then maybe there could be a section for short stories. That was a good enough plan for the beginning, but with new worlds and new settings coming into play that plan is not going to cut it. I’d like to keep the basic structure but expand it. So the serialization category is going the way of the dinosaur (I’ll still be using it as a tag, though). Instead, there will be separate categories for each set of stories (Project Sumter, Weavers of the Heartlands, ect.) and each category will have subcategories for short stories, and for any serialized novels that are posted here.
Whew. Clear as mud? Well, poke around the Fiction Index some and watch over the next few weeks. I hope to structure this blog so the only barrier to getting caught up is how much material there is to read. If you see something that hinders that goal, please, please, please let me know. A writer’s job is to get the story to the audience and if you can’t find it, then I’m not doing my job. And I don’t want that.