Cheap (Well, Free) Practical Advice for Writers

Last year I resurrected a 40 year old novel manuscript for publication.  I wish I had dated and made notes on my early manuscripts, because it was very difficult to tell, looking through those old papers, when each draft was written.  Had I put dates on things, I would have known that.  I still do not know for sure when that novel — Death At The Flea Circus — was written.  My best guess is 1968 through 1972.

This afternoon, I went through another old novel’s manuscripts: The Captive Dragon, a fantasy novel that I published as a POD paperback through Xlibris in 2001.  Those drafts were numbered, and thanks to the matching electronic files having dates, it was not too hard to figure out which of the many MS Word files I have for the book was the latest and best version of the book.  I’m preparing a Kindle ebook edition of this novel, and it looks like I’ll need to redo the last round of corrections I gave to Xlibris in the latest dated Word file I have, but there aren’t too many of them, thankfully.  Had I not dated many bits and pieces of that project, which spanned the years 1997 through 2001, I’d have had a hell of a time figuring out what I had to work with now.

So save yourself some trouble, and date everything you write, and make notes that will help you figure out what it all means when you return to it years from now.


About David Barker

David Barker is the author of two works of weird horror fiction written in collaboration with W. H. Pugmire: The Revenant of Rebecca Pascal and In the Gulfs of Dream & Other Lovecraftian Tales (both books were published by the now defunct Dark Renaissance Books, but copies are still available from Dark Regions Press.) Barker and Pugmire also collaborated on a Lovecraftian horror novel, Witches In Dreamland, which will be published by Hippocampus Press, possibly in late 2017. Recently, his stories and poems have appeared in Fungi, Cyaegha, Spectral Realms, The Art Mephitic, The Audient Void, The Indiscriminate Mixture and on He has a short story in the weird fiction anthology, Nightmare's Realm, edited by S. T. Joshi and published in 2017 by Dark Regions Press. He also has published several works of horror and bizarro fiction as Kindle ebooks, including the bizarro zombie novel Dead Guys in Packards. Together with Jordan Hofer, David Barker has written two nonfiction books about UFOs and alien abduction: Little Gray Bastards (published in 2016 by Schiffer Publishing) and Unidentifiable Flying Objects (due in Fall 2017 from Schiffer.)
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