Thursday, May 31, 2012

The importance of backing up your work

I had a scary experience this week that is worth sharing.

If you write at all, be sure to back up frequently.  I used to, back when I used a computer that had a habit of crashing frequently, but I got complacent when I got my new computer.  So when the hard drive failed the other day with no warning, I hadn't backed up in three or four months.

I haven't worked on my novel since the last time I backed up, so I knew the first draft was safe, but there were some outlining and research notes and other various additions, such as images, that I would lose.  I actually would have lost more of my other work, my freelance writing that I do for clients, but of course if I had been avidly working on my novel more of it would have been at risk.

I lucked out: Although the hard drive was shot, the data was still recoverable.  I didn't end up actually losing anything, much to my relief.  But hopefully I've learned from my mistake, and will start backing up regularly again.

Hopefully you can learn from my mistake, too.  Especially if you haven't backed up in a while, back up now!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo 2012 badge
I made a discovery last week: NaNoWriMo runs in the summer, too!  It's called Camp NaNoWriMo, and it runs two months this summer, June and August -- as in, one novel each month (with a month in between for recovery, I suppose).

I've gotten a little sidetracked, which means I haven't finished my research and the first round of revisions on Ruby Ransome and Pandora's Box.  So in June I will not actually be writing a novel -- I'll be using June and July to complete a second draft of Pandora's Box.  I'm hoping to use it as a kick in the pants to get me going again, so that I will be ready to start the second novel -- the title of which I have not yet come up with -- on August 1.

I'll update my sidebar and replace all the old NaNo stuff from November 2011 with the Camp NaNoWriMo 2012 stuff -- my badge and a link to my stats.  Remember, unless I get creative and find a way to translate my revisions into a word count, I won't have any stats to speak of in June -- but definitely start checking (and I'll start blogging about it to remind you) in August!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

NaNoWriMo success story!

NaNoWriMo is long over, and I've stalled halfway through the research I need to complete before I do my first round of revisions.  For the most part it's simply because I've been too busy and the novel was one of the first things to get left by the wayside, but I'm trying to rein in my out-of-control schedule now so that I can once again devote some time to researching and revising my novel.

A recent post on a blog I follow provided some motivation.  Jessica Burkhart is the author of the Canterwood Crest series for horse-crazy tween girls, but she's also a wrimo (what NaNoWriMo participants are usually called around the site and forums).  Here you can read about how she wrote the first book of the series as a NaNo novel.

I understand what she means about a first draft being "ugly" after NaNoWriMo is over!  I feel like my novel has good bones -- I think I successfully captured the story and the general feel that was in my head -- but I also feel like I need to research certain details and develop certain aspects of the story a little more.

I don't necessarily want the same sort of success Jessica Burkhart found -- I'm less interested in traditional publishing, and leaning more toward digital self-publishing -- but I still find her story encouraging!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vampire fiction and vampire romance: Genre must-reads

If you're a fan of vampire fiction, be sure to check out this article in the Chicago Tribune:

The vampire's allure

The article initially focuses on Anne Rice and everything she has contributed to the genre -- she was writing about vampires long before Twilight made it the next "in" thing -- but then goes from an overview of other modern favorites to a discussion of landmark classics in the genre, such as Dracula and Carmilla.  The list includes Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, as well as other more recent series, such as the Anita Blake series.

On this list, I've only actually read Dracula, The Passage, and most of Anne Rice's books, but several of the others -- including The Vampyre and Carmilla, both of which predate the 1920s, the setting for my vampire world -- are on my reading list.  I've also seen the movie versions for a couple of the others, I Am Legend and Let the Right One In (the foreign movie).

What about you?  Have you read any of the highlights of vampire fiction mentioned in the article?  Also, do you think she's left anything out?  Sparkly or not, I probably would have included Twilight on the list, since we do have to give it credit for putting vampire fiction on the map again!