How to Make a Functional Writing Folder

Though this guide focuses on novel writing, try practising other mediums, like poems. Write what, and when you want, blogs, guides, plays, songs, anything. It is good exercise.

Always back-up your work. Never fear losing it. The brain tends to forget, whereas hard-drives, pen-drives and Drop-Box do not. We live in an age when using mobile phones or music players like storage devices is commonplace. Make the most of them.

All writers need folders. It is essential. You need to collect thoughts. 
Inside this folder, add folders for each discipline. This may include a multitude of topics.

Mine includes novels, poetry, lyrics, comedy, food and this blog. Each of those has separate projects inside.

Make an ideas folder to store interesting things. The main purpose is for half-baked idea storage. It is also a place for wacky facts you are unsure what to do with. 

New Story
Create a blank folder called ‘new story’ for fiction. This saves time on new projects. You can copy it, getting stories started faster. In the folder, create five sub-folders, headed ‘brief’, ‘characters’, ‘scenes’, ‘drafts’ and ‘research’.

If planning a series, add a ‘new story’ inside a ‘new story’ for each book. This helps checking story-arcs and character development. 

Maintain your folders order. It helps keeping track of obscure character facts, settings and storylines.

This folder is for business. Before starting your book, it should include one document. That document should have varying sizes of synopses, from sentence length, to paragraph, page, and longer. All the synopses will influence each other, so keep them together.

Your character folder may include more folders. You can cluster characters, by groups like main and minor, or other variables such as good, protagonists or cops vs. bad, antagonists or robbers. You may have other variations for your story.

Characters should have named documents. This document, like the brief, will include sentences, paragraphs, pages and full synopsis. It will also include charts with vital detail.

You need an all characters list too. Ordered by significance, this will include names and descriptions. It is useful to glance at all characters together.

You can make folders for settings, objects and worldbuilding tools. I see worldbuilding as character.

Your scenes folder should include scene lists as your story develops. You can write lists in Word or Excel charts.

Your drafts folder will include all drafts, taking you through your first, to a proofread, styled manuscript. I keep drafts, as I enjoy reading them back. Having them is useful if you lose pieces you would rather keep.

At first, a research folder is imperative. Like my ideas folder, it is a place for putting discovered information you want included, but is too abstract for immediate use.

Be competent with your knowledge and data, paying special attention to subjects you are unsure about before starting. Read about themes you want included, but also lots in diverse genres and mediums.

More information: GenresIdeasDemographicsEquipment

Happy Creations!

Jim M