Song Completion: Prioritising What’s Left

I am still working on the third draft of Song, and I realised that I was floundering a bit in finishing off the remaining tasks.

My experience as a software developer means I tend to approach writing with a software mindset, and the same applies to process. When you’re not sure what to work on next in software, you look at all known issues and you prioritise them.

For the remaining Song problems, I did the following*:

  1. assigned a reference number to each open issue.
  2. copied the issue numbers and descriptions to another file.
  3. classified the issues. The classes I used were “broken”, “hidden”, “silly”, and “rewrite”. These classes would undoubtedly be different for a different project.
  4. ordered the issues by priority. The classes help with this because anything “broken” is likely to be higher priority than the merely “silly”, but there priorities within a class and I did find some broken things which were less urgent than would be expected.
  5. copied the ordered issues into a new section of the third pass tracking file called “::PRIORITY::” so I can find them again later.

The point of this is to give me a list of things to work on over the next few weeks with the highest impact, because I am going to put this down soon. Novels, they say, are abandoned rather than finished and there will always be things to be improved if I keep looking for them. I need to set an end point, a finishing time. This needs to be done with by the end of October.

Having a prioritised list of things to do means I will get the best value I can out of the time remaining.

How do you plan your completion of a project? How do you finish things?

[*] I edit my tracking files in vim, which makes automating parts of this process quite easy. I started documenting the vim commands I used, but this isn’t a vim tutorial.

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