An Ambitious Fallout: Organizing Words

As previously mentioned, I wrote a million words of fiction last year. This came with some unenviable fall-out, as did previous versions of the challenge (both failed). Now I have a ton of words, spread across three different year directories, plus the stuff I wrote before I was crazy enough to try this; we’re talking thousands of files of various writing spread across an unorganized directory tree. To remedy this, I came up with a fairly simple directory hierarchy to move things into… but then came the question of what to move?

Everything old went into a directory under “writing” named “library” because it was the best name I could come up with for it. Everything, so there’s plenty of duplication possible there. It’s meant to serve as an archive. Mostly of re-writes, personal stuff, and junk that will never see the light of day. Then came the step of deciding what I’ve written needs to be pursued. Yikes, that was not fun. I took a shotgun approach and sorted things into a “wips” directory (works in progress, though the last S is in the wrong spot grammatically I suppose), and a “completed” directory — though these are actually just text files that need to be formatted into something more publishable, and also they need to be put through editing.

Completed was easy; those all end with “THE END” or “TO BE CONTINUED” or something along those lines. There weren’t many of them, despite the word count, because starting is easier than finishing when it comes to writing a novel or even a short-story.

WIPS, on the other hand… well, there were various stages of these. Seeds of stories, seedlings, even a few that are almost there. Spread across 2020, 2021, and 2022 directories plus the previous, non-million-word-year collection. I decided that a shotgun approach was better to start for that and just located everything I thought had any chance of making it (sometimes just copying whole directories full of files without checking them)… and now I get to prune them as I go forward. But now we’re talking about hundreds of files, even after I pruned all the really obviously bad stuff.

This is why writers don’t often ask for ideas: we have plenty. It’s not that we need an idea to write, it’s that we have to choose which one to write. Now I have several hundred to choose from the next time I write any fiction; instead, I think I’ll work on those puny completed works and get them into a better form first… time to actually publish something again.