When you want to write a book about life-changing (not to mention utterly life-ruining) events spanning roughly a decade, you’ll be facing insane amounts of research. In this particular case, so much that it requires a rather drastic approach.
First There Were Three Books…
My current non-fiction WIP, ‘Echtscheidingsoorlog’ (or ‘Divorce War’ in English) is going to be massive. The initial idea was to write three books: the first one about domestic violence and all other marital mayhem that led to my decision to divorce, the second one about the resulting divorce war, and the third one about the rampant incompetence and corruption within the Dutch government and the aid industry which I found out about because of said divorce war.
…And Then There Was Just One
However, of those four years of marital mayhem, only the last year has been documented, leaving me not enough material for a separate book. Also, the stories about the divorce war on one hand and the incompetence and corruption on the other, are so interwoven that it’s impossible to turn them into separate books.
Therefore, just one book it will be.
New Hard Drive
So, what’s with the new hard drive mentioned in the title of this post? Well, that has to do with the required research.
The materials I need are scattered all over the place. I have hundreds of documents spread across numerous folders on an external hard drive, and hundreds of them, also scattered across plenty of folders, in my Dropbox folder. Then there are hundreds of emails (yep, also scattered among plenty of folders) and a few thousand pages worth of printed documents (which all need to be scanned and stored digitally). And finally, a few hundred blog posts to sift through.
I figured there was only one way to get all that material sorted out: go all Hogwarts on it and pull out my Sorting Hat. 🙂
Step 1: buy a new, one Terabyte hard drive, install Windows plus the necessary programs (including Scrivener and Aeon Timeline).
Step 2: move one folder of data over to that drive, via the scanner in the case of paper documents.
Step 3: go through every single document in that folder, move it to the appropriate folder, add the info to the timeline and to Scrivener, write whatever needs to be written about that document, store it as a text in Scrivener and give it a name that starts with the correct date. Rinse and repeat till the folder is empty.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 till all data has been moved and processed.
Once all that is finished, I’ll have a very detailed timeline, all data will be sorted, stored, and easily retrievable, and my Scrivener document will contain hundreds of short texts sorted chronologically, after which I just have to tie them all together.
Of course, given the sheer amount of data to be processed, all this will take a while, to say the least. I’ll be thrilled if I can manage to have the first draft finished a year from now.