I have just discovered that I am editing two different copies of the same manuscript. “How did you manage that?”, you may ask. I’m talented. I wanted to keep a record of how the manuscript changed, and lost track of my copies. It is my own fault, and I hope I’ve learnt my lesson. I’m trying to do much all at once.
So, how do I get myself out of this mess?
By displaying patience – the lack of which got me into this pickle in the first place – and picking just one manuscript, swapping the alterations over from the other copy – and then clearing house. All the other copies can go. Seriously, why was I hanging on to those previous incarnations of my Steampunk manuscript? It’s not like I’m going to be studied in schools. When I cut mega-wordage from the narrative, I always transfer them to a file rather than just deleting them. I’m certain the practice is a hangover from when I wrote with pen and paper, and I haven’t done that for years (unless I’m deliberately working with a pen to shock the creative juices into action). Patience, determination, and a clear picture of where I am going is the only way past this kerfuffle.
This isn’t a trap I’ve fallen into previously, which may be why I made the mistake. It isn’t a problem I’ve heard about when other writers discuss their working process. But just in case one of you reading this might consider the multiple copy route, be warned. You might not be as organised as you think you are…
I now know I’m not. And I’m going to try not to muddle through in the future.