With everything bursting into life outside, I've been tackling some long overdue tidying indoors before the garden demands my attention. One of the cupboards whose contents jump out at me every time I open the door, is the one where I store all my manuscripts–well, most of them.
I started to sort it out last year, but apart from discarding some manuscripts of stories that I've subsequently changed, and making sure I had hard copies of everything, that was as far as I got. The fact is, I have a lot of work that has been shoved in that cupboard for so long that I'd forgotten I'd written it. Some of it has been overtaken by the real world since I wrote it, and much of it has gathered dust because it isn't very good. Maybe some parts could come in useful elsewhere, but they're no good as they are. I definitely wouldn't want some of my early masterpieces to be resurrected!
Which thought started me wondering about what would happen to my work if I died. Hopefully, that's a long way off, but none of us can be sure when we'll go, so it's time I sorted things out.
Anything that I don't want any more, but could be useful as scrap paper, should have lines put through it (and be deleted if it's on the computer), and put in a separate place. Work that might have something worth saving, but is not worthy of publication as it stands should be incontravertibly marked as such. Work that I'm still hoping to find a home for should be kept separate in an 'active' file. It might also be an idea to group stories that could go together, and format them for self-publication. It might seem vain or immodest, but so much of my life has been spent producing the work that I wouldn't want it to disappear entirely. If nothing else, it will prove that I wasn't just staring into space.
It's also possible to dictate where any royalties from published work, or work that might be published in future, should go. You can tell the publishers and put it in your will.
I think whoever is my executor will have enough to do without having to become my editor too. It isn't being morbid; I'm making sure that if people remember me, it won't be for the mess I leave behind me.