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Separate chapter files or not

Switch Blayde
Updated:

I used to have a separate doc file for each chapter. Maybe I got into that habit because of posting stories on sites like SOL where you post chapters individually.

I carried that technique over to my novels — until now!

You can input a docx file into Calibre and, if you use Word's "Heading 1" formatting for chapters, it will automatically create the TOC. So I merged my individual chapter files into one big docx file.

What I didn't know is that when you do that, Word lists the chapter names to the left (like a TOC) and, when you click on a chapter name it takes you to the beginning of that chapter. I love it.

So even if I'm writing a multi-chapter story to post on SOL, I'll now write it as one file and break it up into separate files when I post it.

I don't know if LibreOffice has this capability, but for you Word users it's great.

Replies:   REP
Ernest Bywater

Switch do you post the whole story at once to display at once, or to display a chapter at a time with days between them?

I write the whole story as one file in Libre Office, and use Calibre to create the EPUB in the manner you mention. However, for SoL I have to posting methods.

1. New Story - each chapter loaded with it's own date for posting on the site, and I load them all up in advance once the first chapter is loaded.

2. Repost - I post the whole story at once using the partition command { p } to separate the chapters. It's explained in the recent advice article I sent to Lazeez about preparing HTML for SoL and is now a resource on the Author / Editor page.

http://storiesonline.net/article/Text-formatting-guide-for-WLPC-Sites

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

I still do both. I create separate chapter files, create the ePub manually from the various HTML files, then use your technique to create the ePub TOC. Of course, I do funky shit with graphic chapter files that require extra coding.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Switch do you post the whole story at once to display at once, or to display a chapter at a time with days between them?


I write the whole story and then post a chapter at a time with days between them. I think that's why I got into the habit of having a separate file for each chapter. Actually, it probably goes all the way back to my story site where I had a separate web page for each chapter.

But I'm talking about the writing process. You spend much more time writing the story than posting it. A novel could take a year to complete. And what I found is it's easier/better to write it as a single doc and then break it up if needed.

REP

@Switch Blayde


What I didn't know is that when you do that, Word lists the chapter names to the left (like a TOC


Go to the TOC style definitions and you can format the TOC entries the way you want them to appear. You will need to define the TOC level for each heading level if you use more one heading level.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


And what I found is it's easier/better to write it as a single doc and then break it up if needed.


If you use a master document you can have the best of both worlds. You insert links to your chapters in the master document and then expand the links which pulls all chapters into one document. You can then collapse the master document back to just the links. That allows you to work on the individual small chapter files, or easily pull them together into one large file when you want to do something to all of the files at once.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

And what I found is it's easier/better to write it as a single doc and then break it up if needed.


That's how I work too, and why i developed the system i did of breaking it up into posting parts for SoL. Then I lodge the parts all in advance and let the system look after it so I don't have to get on to post each chapter.

Michael Loucks

My method is separate text files for each chapter, writing the whole story before I post it. I use BBEdit on my Mac. Fast, clean, and no worries about proprietary formats. Heck, I could use 'vim' if I wanted to! :-)

Switch Blayde

There's another benefit that I found working with one file that I didn't mention. It pertains to novels, rather than posting a story on SOL.

A quick peek at the bottom left now shows me the word count for the entire manuscript. I used to manually keep track of the chapter word count and keep a running total (which I had to recalculate each time I made a change).

Of course if you're concerned about chapter length, it's a disadvantage having it one file. But I'm not. My chapters range from short to long; I don't care what they end up as. But the novel needs to be in a range based on the genre. So as I'm writing, I may check the word count and decide I need to add a sub-plot.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

But I'm talking about the writing process. You spend much more time writing the story than posting it. A novel could take a year to complete. And what I found is it's easier/better to write it as a single doc and then break it up if needed.

I mainly keep individual chapters because that's how I feed them to my editors, not because of how I post. While they prefer them all at once, I don't want them to feel obligated to edit multiple chapters at once. I prefer they only tackle additional chapters when they feel up to it. However, that's assuming editors can't judge for themselves. (You want readers to stay up all night, but not editors. If editors get too excited about the story, they miss things.)

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Go to the TOC style definitions and you can format the TOC entries the way you want them to appear. You will need to define the TOC level for each heading level if you use more one heading level.

Since I do graphic chapter titles in my books, I use the < h1="chapter title" alt="blind text">display image command. In the case of lulu's odd capitalization rules, it allows you capitalize separately for the TOC.

Crumbly Writer

I continue going for the most complex route, writing individual chapters and then formatting for each file type so I can control how it looks thru each development step. That's LOTS of files to maintain, but if I screw up, there are plenty of backups!

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

If editors get too excited about the story, they miss things.

If editors get too bored with the story, they miss things too.
I'd ask Goldilocks what to do, but she's going down on this guy in a bear suit ...

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Ross at Play


If editors get too bored with the story, they miss things too.

I'd ask Goldilocks what to do, but she's going down on this guy in a bear suit ...


Is that actually a guy, I wonder? She may be in for a surprise. I'm told bear juice is something else...

EDIT TO ADD; I am so slow. (Well, it's almost 2 am here, that's my excuse.) Just realized the obvious: she's hoping he'll eat her in return, of course.

bb

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

I mainly keep individual chapters because that's how I feed them to my editors, not because of how I post. While they prefer them all at once, I don't want them to feel obligated to edit multiple chapters at once.


When I'm editing, I like to receive a story all at once. If I don't, how am I supposed to spot continuity errors?

AJ

Replies:   Zom  Crumbly Writer
Zom

@awnlee jawking

how am I supposed to spot continuity errors

The arrow of time allows that continuity moves forward, mostly :-)

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

When I'm editing, I like to receive a story all at once. If I don't, how am I supposed to spot continuity errors?

I didn't say I delivered it all at once, but if they have it all in once place, there's more of a tendency to continue on, rather than thinking "am I ready to start another chapter". It's the same with reading, as long as they can just turn a a page, there's a tendency to read the entire story at once, however long it takes. I can't tell you the number of times I've read a book cover-to-cover, spending all night rather than waiting for more convenient times.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

awnlee jawking

When I'm editing, I like to receive a story all at once. If I don't, how am I supposed to spot continuity errors?

I didn't say I delivered it all at once, but if they have it all in once place, there's more of a tendency to continue on, rather than thinking "am I ready to start another chapter". It's the same with reading, as long as they can just turn a a page, there's a tendency to read the entire story at once, however long it takes. I can't tell you the number of times I've read a book cover-to-cover, spending all night rather than waiting for more convenient times.

OK but did you read it sufficiently carefully to spot each and every problem, typo etc when you were so tired?
Yes, I can understand wanting to have everything at the same time; I came across something in a long SOL story and had to go back to check the girls' name - perhaps 20 or 30 chapters. Since I hadn't saved the chapters it was a pig of a job finding the earlier reference (it was wrong!)

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