Thursday, November 20, 2008

What Color Is Your Revision?

I’ve discovered a enormously helpful new revision tool. It’s probably something everyone else has known about for eons, but I’ve just stumbled upon it and it’s keeping me from feeling scattered to the four corners of the universe.

I’ve taken to printing different versions of the mss out on different colors of paper. So the rough draft was printed in white, the second draft was printed on yellow, and the third that I’m currently working on is on blue paper. The final version will be on buff colored paper. (Yes, I really am the queen of multiple drafts. I can NEVER get it in one.)

Such a simple, simple thing, and yet, it frees up just a little bit more of my mental hard drive so I don’t have to stop and think, okay, which is the newest version? I know some people print their version numbers as a footer on the mss, but I always forget about that, and this color thing just makes it so clear.

Plus, seeing the mss on a different colored paper is almost as effective as using a new font for making old typos easier to spot.

It is especially helpful when I’m weaving in bits from older drafts.

Not to mention that it’s pretty. It makes my desk look like a rainbow has exploded on it.


Anonymous said...

I LOVE this idea. My online folders are such a mess. I have to search through the dates and even then need to choose between drafts with the same name, or maybe, if I've been smart the name with a #. I'm going to try these colored drafts. I never heard of this. Once again, you've invented a new revision tool.

Robin L said...

Well, I'm not sure if I can claim to have invented that. I probably heard it somewhere and just can't remember where.

And I learned after many painful missteps that I HAD to rename the online files in some fashion. Especially since I do about seventeen more revisions per novel than you do, Miss Get-It-Right-In-One. (No, I'm not bitter...)

So I have Vsn 1.0, 1.1, 2.1 2.4, etc.

Gail Gauthier said...

While I like this color idea, I'm afraid I'd run out of different shades of paper before I finally finish a manuscript. What I've been doing for a long time is putting a letter for the draft as well as a number for the chapter number in the header line. A1 is Draft 1, Chapter 1; H10, is Draft 8, Chapter 10. For instance.

On my hard drive, I have a folder for each draft (A through whatever) and a file for each chapter within the draft/folder, which is very much like your Vsn 1.0.

And you're right. Those of us who have to do a lot of drafts, learn through painful experience.

Patty Palmer said...

Excellent idea. Never heard of this one before!