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Thursday, 23 June 2011

How do you keep track of your stories…

… And would you consider using versioning software or a custom database application?

Why do I ask? Well, two reasons really. The first is to find out what other people do and to see if there is a better approach to the one I’m currently using. The second is to find out what others think would be the best way of organising our work-in-progress, and for maintaining a record of our submitted and accepted work. I would now include self-e-published work in this.

Firstly, I currently hold my ideas, WIPs, critique feedback, editing and submissions history, and not forgetting my acceptance and rejection history for each story all as files in a rather complicated directory structure on both my word and home PCs. This structure has grown, rather organically, over time, and means I'm constantly attempting to keep all the documents in both machines at the same revision level, as well as updating/ensuring all the various documents; whether they are story files, critiques, ideas, or the various history file; in the appropriate folders.

My structure is as follows:

I’m sure this is more complicated, and less secure, than it should or needs to be.
Now, I’m a .net applications designer to trade, that’s fancy speak for computer programmer, so I was thinking about writing my own system for keeping better control of my work. I did a bit of research and there doesn’t seem to really be anything out there that does what I want to do. I know some people seem to use spreadsheets to keep track of things. I assume their story files are just saved on their hard Disk, but didn’t find any accounts that went into much detail. There are plenty of versioning solutions out there, some decent ones are even freeware. The thing is, like the spreadsheet, this only provides part of the solution. And it seems a bit overkill to write and maintain spreadsheets as well as some sore of versioned directory structure just for what amounts to a handful of files or such.
So before I start looking at making something of my own, I’d appreciate it if anyone knows of any programs I may have missed, or at least say how you deal with your work and related record keeping.

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