Content management in fiction: AKA damn that’s a lot of files

anne gibson
Jan 11, 2018 · 2 min read

We often say that when it comes to User Experience work, the cobbler’s kids have no shoes ((warning: TV Tropes link. I’m not responsible for you getting lost in there forever.)) because, frankly, with all the brain time we’re putting into our clients’ projects we have too much decision fatigue at the end of the average day to work on our own sites.

I am here to confirm this isn’t just true of our personal/professional websites, portfolios, logos, business cards, advertisements, photography, and bookshelves ((fun fact: if you want more bookshelves, re-shelve the family’s collection of books as “I read it” and “I didn’t read it” then ask for books for Christmas. When your partner see the state of the bookshelves, triple-shelved and in an order that makes sense only to you, A Reckoning will be demanded.)) it is also true of our fiction.

Or at least in my case, it’s true of my fiction.

For example, I write science fiction and fantasy with my copious free time between work, pinball tournaments, and dog wrangling. I have roughly 10 short stories and another 10 poem out on the market at any given time, and that’s a mess to keep organized as it is. But I also have a few books in progress, one of which I’ve mentioned before I’ve been writing off and on since I was 13.

The siren call of working on that story bit me again late last year, so I decided, yes, I am ready to write it into a something coherent. And yes, I have lots of good work already written in here. So all I need to do is organize my existing files, figure out what’s worth saving, and do a rewrite, right?

That wheezing cackling laughter you hear in the background is every author reading these words who knows what a colossal mistake I have made.

We are somewhere around two months since I decided to launch into this “quick cleanup of my files and rewrite” and I can confirm I have over 690 individual Word, Pages, and .rtf files associated with this book. Well over half are me rewriting the same scenes over and over with different angles and wording, so I have used a half dozen method of file comparison so far just to figure out what the “good parts” are and where they’re hiding.

I think it’s safe to say now that this simple little project might be published by the time I’m 60, if I don’t chuck the whole thing out a window by then.

The cobbler’s kids have no shoes, and the Information Architect has no content inventory.

Originally published at The Interconnected.

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