Import Existing Writing into #LSBXE

Continuing on with some generic advice on how to use Liquid Story Binder — what if you’re a writer who has existing bits of manuscript that you want to import into LSB?

I like to have a different “binder” for each major project. If I’m working on a trilogy, I try to keep all of the books in one binder so I can share research material. Stand alone novels I keep in a binder of their own. I also have a binder titled “misc bits” for all of the projects I have ideas for but haven’t developed into anything more than a random thought. I just don’t want to lose those bits of dreams or cool ideas.

When you first start using LSB, it is likely you’ll have some material that you’ve created using another word processor. I recommend saving that material in rich text format and then importing it using the LSB dialogue.

  • Create or open a binder to hold the project
  • From the Library menu on the main window, choose “Import Documents”
  • Choose the type of file you want to import — most likely “Import Chapters” if you want a chunk of writing
  • Click “Change Import Directory” and then use the Windows navigation window to locate the folder where your existing writing is stored
  • Click on the chapter(s) you want – hold down the control key to select more than one
  • Click “Import Selected Documents”
  • Click “Finished”

But wait — you don’t see anything! The screen is still blank!

From the main window, click “Open” and then “Select Chapter” — and you’ll find all of the chapters you just imported. You can click on them and see how they came in.

What you do with those files from here will vary. One thing to do is to create a Planner (think table-of-contents for your novel).

Create a new planner and name it the same as your novel or project.

From the planner’s menu, click “Items” and then “Add Titles”. You should see see your imported files. Click the ones you want (again, you can use the control key) and then click “Make Selection”. This will bring your chapters into the planner and make them available to build into a manuscript.

Depending on the program you used to create the original writing, this may or may not work. Here are some of the problems people routinely run into:

  • Invisible characters in the text. — This is very common with word processors. (Side note: some agents have pointed out recently that writers are not using Word properly. They haven’t selected “accept changes”. End result — the documents they are sending to agents contain a history of the changes and edits they’ve made to the document…awkward!) You’ll realize these exist if the program starts hanging up or freezing while you’re working on a document. To solve it, use the formatting center (Main window, under Tools) — something I’ll talk about in another post.

  • The program you’re working in won’t allow you to export rich text. — In this case, just copy the existing text into the clipboard (try using control-c in your writing program) and then open a new chapter in LSB. Paste (control-v) the text in. This will generally get your words in from just about any program.

This is only a rough start, a way to get existing words into a usable form in the program. At this point, there isn’t much difference between using LSB and a word processor…but we aren’t done yet.

You can import other files as well — images from research, scanned maps, music that you like, etc. Whatever you need to make your writing productive, bring into the program. Don’t worry initially if it seems to vanish, just get the files into the program. In upcoming posts, I’ll talk about ways you can manipulate and expand on the project.

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