Writing Hack: "Graveyard" files

Today's writing hack (just in time for Halloween): "Graveyard" files.

My current series and their respective Graveyard files.

As I write my way through a 5-book urban fantasy series, I find myself rewriting and ripping out whole chapters of books.  Whenever I do that, I save the old chapters in a document called the book's Graveyard.  It's where old content goes to die.  I organize it by the chapters they used to be headed under.

Inside of a Graveyard file. Note the easy to navigate chapter headings to the left.

Why do I do this?  Because sometimes you realize that an old chapter you axed had something of value.  Maybe there was a great description in there.  Or you changed your mind about a subplot, so you want to resurrect an old scene.  It's pretty easy to just "dig" into the Graveyard doc and resurrect it back into the main story.  

I suppose I could also just make a bunch of different file revisions, but with this system, I have all my old content in one file.  I love my Graveyard files...they've saved me from a lot of unnecessary rewrite.  And sometimes, it's nice to be visited by a ghost from the past.