I have a system

I think I found a system that works!  I am not doing the database after all, because that is still a lot of time spent on meta-writing, which could be time spent on writing.  Here is what I came up with instead for doing my rewrites:

Step 1.  Print out the chapter with all of the inline critiques.  Chapter 1 clocked in at 37 pages doing this.

Step 2.  Go through the whole chapter, deciding which critiques to work in and which to ignore.

Step 3.  Go back through the whole chapter again.  This time working in MY changes, sometimes overriding what I just put in from the crits.  (Oh yeah.  Somewhere around step zero was putting the whole story on my kindle with the paragraphs numbered so I can take notes while I read)

Step 4.  This was the magic for me.  (IMHO, anyway)  I break the chapter into scenes.  Separate file for each scene.

Step 5.  Print out one scene, latch it onto the clipboard, and focus only on word selection.  No story telling, as that is already done.  This is where I go through and remove weak words and phrases.

Step 6.  Recombine the scenes into a chapter.

YAY!  I think that it results in a much better piece of work.  I guess I will find out when it hits the  critique site.  With any luck, both of my loyal readers will let me know what they think!

So there it is.  My system.  Still interested in what others use for their editing efforts.

–j–

Rewrites and Scenelists

I have officially embarked on the second (third?  maybe even parts of it fourth…) draft of The Priestess, the Protector.  It may become Healing Mirian in title, but I am not committed yet.

Anyway, I am thinking hard about jumping in to full organizational mode with the creation of scene lists and whatnot.  I spent part of my writing time yesterday building a database.  The goal of said database will be to allow me to enter each scene and get information back about it.  As best I can tell, I need to have a scene name,  location, links to each character that appears, along with some reference to where they are at in their character development (that is another database).  I am forcing myself to include a sentence or two to explain how this scene contributes to the progression of the plot, and then a short synopsis of what happens in the scene.

I know it isn’t just me.  Botanist is starting a series on writing tools on his blog as well.

So, faithful readers?  (Both of you!)  What do you use to keep track of your stories?  Do you plan before or after you write?

If anyone is interested, I will try to find a way to export my database structure once I get it usable.

–j–

Backups and other boring, technical stuff…

As in, computer backups.  I have been working on The Elfling lately, and plugging along as well as can be expected.  Sunday afternoon I completed chapter 3, saved it to my computer, and went out to enjoy the day.

I came back later and discovered that the entire manuscript of The Elfling had been erased from my machine.  When I write, I save my stories with a separate file for each chapter.  All three chapters were gone.

Boring techie reason:  I have been experimenting with dual-booting my laptop between Ubuntu 10.10 and Windows 7.  I was saving my data files to the NTFS partition so they would be accessible to both operating systems.  Apparently if you hibernate the Linux OS without unmounting the NTFS drive, it may or may not properly flush the write buffers.  If you then access the NTFS partition from Windows, Windows will think it is a corrupt file and helpfully delete it for you.  This is the best explanation I have been able to put together based on the minimal research I have done.

—END OF TECHNICAL STUFF—

Wake up again, now.

So, here is my question:  What backup regimen do you all use?  I have looked at Dropbox, but they scared the crap out of me a couple months back when they deleted my entire 80K word manuscript.  I was able to recover it, but it made me touchy about using them again.  I am hesitant to pay for Carbonite or any of the other backup services, plus I don’t know if they work with Linux or not.  My current plan of backing up to a memory stick and another computer “when I remember” is obviously sub-optimal.

Any brilliant plans?  Has anyone found the silver bullet for backing up their information?

The good news is that although I ended up having to rewrite chapter 3 (it was gone forever), I did manage to recover Chapters 1 & 2 because they had already been posted to CritiqueCircle for review.  I guess I am glad now that I sometimes submit before I should…

–j–

Yet another WIP

For some reason, the more I try to plot out and write my sci-fi story, the more I get ideas for a short story set in my original fantasy world.

I have decided not to fight it.  I am always churning in the background with thoughts for the rewrite on my main WIP.  I think that is why Elfling has been pushing forward.  The downside is that now I technically have 3 stories in process.  Even worse, I am starting to get ideas for the next novel, also to be set in my fantasy world.

How many is too many?  How many stories do you have in the works?

–j–

Research

I have found myself doing some bizarre research while writing.  My primary WIP has a healer as the MC.  In order to properly portray the healing process, I found myself browsing images of dissected hands and legs.  Because I am somewhat…  let’s say ‘flighty’ at times, I would be writing along and suddenly need to know where the blood vessels in a human upper thigh are routed.  Thinking nothing of it, I pop over to google images and start looking at cut open legs.

My wife, seated next to me, was not pleased.  Especially those times we happen to be eating dinner while I work.

I suspect that this might be partially why she agreed that I should have my own, quiet place to write in.  Happily, I moved into the “den” to do my writing.

Consequently, when I needed to know which part of the brain is responsible for motor control functions (for a different story) and thusly started browsing pictures of disembodied and partially cut apart brains, nobody was there to complain.

What is the strangest research you have done?  Most disturbing?  Stephen King stated that the most disturbing research he ever did was while writing Carrie, seeing how teenage / high school girls treat the socially outcast girls.  That is saying something, coming from him.  Glad I never was one.  :^P

Share your bizarre research tales below!  Looking forward to it.

–j–