glitter_n_gore: (freddie lounds)
Happy September, folks!

I haven’t blogged in a little while. That’s mostly on me, being elseweb and not taking the time to review things as quickly as I mean to. It can happen. Also, I had some *ahem* Computer Issues that needed solving. Those of you who have been on the receiving end of my rants, you know what happened. The rest of you: I have a Mac now, and everything is OK again. That is all you need to know.

HOWEVER.

Here’s something that will need addressing one way or another whether you have a decent machine and accompanying software or not: backing up your stuff. Never ever EVER forget to back up your stuff. Rather, don’t go, “Meh, I’ll just do it later,” and then NOT back up your stuff if you get to thinking it’ll just, y’know, be there when you decide you can be bothered to back it up. Don’t do that.

A short list of the stuff I lost in between drop-kicking my old Asus out a window* and acquiring my shiny new Macbook Air:

--> The last chapter of the WiP (“Cave Draconem,” those of you who beta’d for it), about 2000 words and change
--> The first chapter of a new WiP I had just finished typing up from my notebook, more than 2000 words (but the notebook survived)
--> At least a dozen unfinished blog posts
--> Four chapters worth of in-progress fanfiction
--> Screen captures from the following movies: Captain America: The First Avenger, The Witch, Crimson Peak, Twixt, and possibly more that I just haven’t remembered yet
--> ALL of the wallpapers, icons, and other graphix I hadn’t uploaded anywhere yet

*I did not actually do this. The Asus is still in my briefcase wondering what it did wrong. Bless its heart.

My backup system consists of: a handful of flash drives that I really ought to organize better than I do (one’s mainly for work, the blogs I write for the library, but that’s the only “organization” I have on there); projects consisting of multiple parts (inspiration photos, playlists, query letter, synopses & sample chapters in addition to the actual full-length manuscript) which I export as ZIP files and email to myself and/or my beta reader(s); printed versions of whatever manuscript I’m submitting at the time, the most recent version, depending on whether I have the budget for that sort of thing when I start sending it.

It’s an imperfect system, as most of them are. But it’s what I’m used to and it works well enough most of the time.

TL;DR - back up your stuff. As often and in as many ways as possible.
glitter_n_gore: (mia)
Results of the BluRay experiment: Nope. Not surprised really, but I *had* to try.

Next, since I started this blog as a way to keep folks posted on my adventures in writing and trying to get published, let's get back to that for a minute. It's been a very productive year for me--I had two articles published in the actual paper last year, which was my first print publication ever; and earlier this year I sent in a manuscript to a publisher I've had my eye on for a while. I'm not done submitting--going through the most recent edition of Writers Market and a few other places to see how gets it next--but this one's my top choice. Fingers crossed!

That second adventure forced me to actually write and finish a synopsis for the first time ever, which was an accomplishment in itself. Here's the worksheet that helped me do that: http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/04/17/how-to-write-a-1-page-synopsis/

I've seen dozens of different How To Synopsis type books, websites, workshops, etc., and this is the only one that's really helped. It's excellent, so definitely check it out if you're in Synopsis Hell and need some pointers.

So, here's what I'm working on now: Revising another project that's set in the same fictional universe as the one I submitted. Not a sequel, but a completely separate story with entirely different characters and a different target audience. Like the previous story, this one has been drafted to completion, perused by my trusted beta reader, and combed over with notes. So this is my (hopefully) final draft before I send it to a publisher/agency and cross more fingers on its behalf.

I want to share with you the method I've been using for my revisions lately, because I only just started doing things this way a few months ago, and it's been the most helpful, and the most likely to actually get me through to the last page. I'm sure you've heard this before, but every writer is different, and this might not necessarily work for you, but it's certainly working for me, and I'm excited about it.

What I do is take what I call the "Master" file of the manuscript--in this case, the Word file of the last one I revised back when I went over it with my beta's notes and mine. I keep that open in one window. In another window, I have a new document, which I name "Title_Draft X" based however many it is by that point. (For me, it's usually three or four.) I copy around 10 pages of text from the "Master" file (or a chapter's worth, depending on the chapter length), paste it into the "Draft X" file, and go over every line one more time. Sometimes I cut things out. Sometimes I add. Sometimes I move lines around or fluff up/trim down the descriptive paragraphs. But every time, I'm only dealing with those ten pages. Period. Then when I get to the end, I write [SEE PAGE X] at the bottom so I know where to pick up again in the "Master" file when I'm ready to do the next ten pages. Save, back up, repeat.

And that's it. I do that until I'm at the end of the manuscript. Sounds simple, right? It kind of is, and it kind of isn't. I do sometimes find a scene that will work better earlier in the story, and when I do I mark that spot with [INSERT SCENE FROM PAGE X], *or* I lift the whole scene from the text and plop it into Notepad until I'm done with those ten pages, and plop it back in when I'm done.

It sounds somewhat tedious. And it is. Revising is the least fun part of the writing process, especially for us pansters.* Because there's this bug in my brain that says, "But we've written it already. We know how this one ends. Let's play with the NEXT one instead." I write to find out how the story ends. If I know how it ends, I lose interest. So yeah, this part of it is tedious. But working on it in small chunks like this? I don't know, for some reason it just works.

*For those not in the know: "Pansters" are writers who start at the beginning and just write until they finish the story. As opposed to writing an outline and working from that. Outlining kills the creativity DEAD for me, every single time. I'm never doing it again.
glitter_n_gore: (Default)
The lovely and talented Lydia Netzer sat in on our workshop this week, and had a number of informative and cool things to say about writing one's first novel.

She also recently posted a number of those same things at the Book Pregnant blog here:
Five Good Reasons You Won't Finish Your Novel.

This is somewhat related to my last post, but in the other direction: some ironic encouragement to keep going on that writing project, rather than permission to let it go.

Enjoy! :)

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