Writer’s Drama edition: Back Up Everything

Nearly two weeks ago, June 28th, my beloved laptop died. I had that computer since 2009. It was my beloved companion and co-worker in my writing projects for my first novel “Soul’s Little Lie”, some new short stories and some new novel ideas, including the continuation to Soul’s Little Lie of three other books.  I had my whole life on that laptop. I truly loved it until its last breath.

Thankfully, with the help of my best buddy – intuition (gut feeling mixed with images of the coming future), I backed up all my current novels onto disc. I even backed up my art reference pictures for my art classes and whatever else I could. Then, that day on June 27th, I decided to do some serious updates. It wasn’t me that had killed the computer, it was the power supply in the device itself.  I could not shut the computer down, I got that legendary blue screen of death. I tossed and turned in my sleep hoping this was only a dream.

Took it to Best Buy to get the hard drive removed and get some extra files out of it.  Thankfully the hard drive was not damaged.  The Geek Squad clerk suggested I get this USB port drive to drive hook up transfer device.  My friend Robert was there with me, a fellow computer geek.  I had bought a brand new HP computer that day, too.  Took it home, set it all up and began to transfer my old C Drive to the new one with this USD port thing.  Well, as soon as I clicked the C drive, it went black.  Turns out that there were not options to transfer particular files only.  Instead it transferred my whole Vista OS to the new Windows 8 OS and they canceled each other out.  Went back to get my money from the USB port device, transferred some more files onto a thumb drive from the old hard drive and then called HP the next day.

Thank you Huricane Arther for stopping FedEx from delivering my recovery OS for my computer!  It took two whole weeks and with the July 4th weekend, it made it that much longer to get here.  Today, thankfully it made it. I’m typing this new entry from my now fully working computer.

While I waited for the recovery discs to arrive, I didn’t stop writing or reading.  I hunkered down and studied my ass off by reading: The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing by the Editors of Writer’s Digest.  I’m half way done.  I’ve marked up important areas all throughout the whole book that strike a cord with my thinking.  There are sections of this non-fiction that I thought I was the only person who ‘went through this’ or ‘went through that’ as a new writer.  I never knew other writers thought this way of ‘odd tactics’ or ‘odd behavior’ while flushing out a new novel.  I was captivated by this book.  I could not, and still can’t, put it down! It’s like a one on one process with your favorite literary teacher and English teacher at the same time.  A ‘free’ one on one course in writing in the comfort of your own home with no worries of college debt!

In between reading, I would jot down notes here and there in my purple note book for the current novels I’m working on.  Any idea that would come to mind.  I’ve found myself making notes in certain pen colors: Pink for Soul’s Little Lie, Orange for SLL: Broken Roses, Green for SLL: Metal Staircase, Blue for SLL: Cloaked Mirrors and Teal Green for other story ideas that are separate.   If older notes had other colors, I’d draw a star in the proper color in which I made the current notes in.  This way I could find the novel notes I needed at a quick glance. Oh, of course don’t forget that I wrote down which pages to continue from.  The notes are a bit jumbled up, but at least I can find them easily.

As a new future author I can’t stress this enough – BACK UP EVERYTHING!

It does not matter what it is, anything that is of importance to you should be backed up. Granted I should have backed up my documents much, much earlier, but at least I got it done in time.  At the time the only thing I cared about backing up was my novels. If those had died, even the sections of the 4th book and notes which I had not sent to Dave yet, I would have DIED! I would have freaked out so bad! I got lucky this time paying attention to my intuition. Sometimes, a  well worked intuition technique won’t always do the trick.

To close this entry: When your computer has died and you need something to do, continue to write notes of your current novels.  Read books that interest you about your writing.  Continue studying your craft while you wait for that all important package for your beloved computer.  And always – BACK UP EVERYTHING!

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Where I Type My Novels

From my previous blog post: https://tarabdobbs.com/2014/05/26/comfy-locations-are-a-must/  I explained a few reasons why a comfortable places to type your large projects is a must and how to avoid bad locations.

Now, I’d like to show you where I create my novels. This curved couch is called Liberator Esse: http://www.liberator.com/esse.html (This site is for ADULTS ONLY) I just noticed that the chair comes in PURPLE! OMG, I want it in purple next time. And that head rest is new, so I totally want that for Christmas!

I got this Esse chair for obvious reasons, but over the years my marriage fell apart and I found this chair for better uses – lounging while writing books. My gray old office chair is too large for me and it hurts my neck while I sit up right to type and messes with my shoulders. So, laying on the Esse chair with loads of pillows really helps.

As added bonus, my friend Molly bought me that pretty rainbow patterned beach towel. I needed some more color in my room and this was the perfect match. The center seat cushion is placed at the foot of the chair as an extra leg rest. I LOVE my Esse chair. It’s worth the price of nearly $500.00!

If you do buy this to lounge in for reading or writing, be warned – YOU WILL FALL ASLEEP IN IT!

Snapshot_20140611_3 Snapshot_20140611_2

My Comfy Spot
My Comfy Spot

Power of Words: Old Style vs New (A Comparison)

Which is best: modern dictionary with thesaurus or old; well loved thesaurus publication? Here are some examples as I thumbed through both.

The New Roget’s Dictionary & Thesaurus Form – Edited by: Norman Lewis (edition 1931, 1936, 1959, 1961, 1964 by: G.P. Putnam’s Son

idol: n. – image, golden calf, graven image, fetish, (worship); beloved, darling, dear (love)

celebrity: n. – luminary, personage, notable (fame)

 

The Little Oxford English Dictionary and Thesaurus – 2003, 2008 copyright

idol: n. -1)  icon, effigy, graven image, fetish, totem 2) hero, heroine, star, celebrity, favorite, darling; inf. blue-eyed boy

celebrity: n. – star, superstar, personality, household name

 

While I compared the two widely different examples, I noticed something very disappointing: the English language is diminishing before our eyes. The language in which we speak is losing its luster and stamina.

While editing my novel “Soul’s Little Lie” I noticed something about my writing from the early stages. I repeated what I was taught in simplicity of word style. The words I used in how I wanted to express the feeling of the story and character interactions were weak; had no power to hold up against the pages. While using my old 1930s Roget’s Thesaurus I learned of words I never knew existed or the context in which they are used. My eyes, my mind expanded to a whole new (perhaps old) world. I dove into this new found adventure and began adding what I had now learned.

There are ways to to use words in explaining a time period or a type of character in how they speak. Say, in the 18th century a character would speak in a more colorful manner. So using, ‘older style’ words would be appropriate. However, that’s cheating us out of the beauty of words. I would ravel in the joy of using ‘notable’ than ‘superstar’ to describe an idolized person.

The way words are used today are extremely simplified so much that this generation and the next will not know the art in which words are created. There are many words in different languages that mean the same thing  just like the English language does, too. The difference is, older cultures try to keep to the same ways of language as long as possible. More modern, faster growing; expanding countries like the United States throw away or shift words around too much. Everyone seems to want to keep everything around them fresh, ‘novel’ as though they can’t sit still long enough to enjoy what they already had.

I ask you now, readers and writers alike: Open your old, beloved thesaurus with renewed vigor. Dive into those dust stained pages. Let your fingers do the walking. Play with the idea for a while in what new; old words you can use in your future works. You will not be disappointed. I promise you that.

 

Comfy Locations Are A Must…

Having written two novels, first original manuscript is being completely reworked now, I have found that comfortable locations to set down to work is important. I’m not just saying a place where it is most covenant – I’m saying it’s best to find multiple locations whenever possible.

You’ll have your typical locations where your desktop or laptop are located: living room, bedroom, din, or kitchen table. Those are all common places that are good to work at as long as it’s quiet and you get no disturbances. (‘Disturbances’ is for a new blog sometime) I’m talking about the uncommon locations. My current ‘uncommon’ location I’m typing right this very second and have been for the past two hours is reclining on my Liberator brand Esse chair. The chair is located in my studio/bedroom semi-apartment where I’m currently living with my elderly parents. This chair is black, velvety soft and curved to the contour of your back and legs. Plenty of pillows to support my head and neck. Price tag: $499.99 purchased at any adult sex toy shop online or in person. Comes in many different colors and a larger size, too.

Why this chair, you ask? Well, it’s comfortable for me. It’s away from my main location – my art studio desk and terrible gray; old fabric office chair. I knew I should have gone with my Dad to get a free, new office chair last month. The real, logical reason to change my location where I type is simple: the feeling, the energy to continue said scene was stagnate and unmoving with emotion. I had to find a place to feel comfortable mentally. It’s what painters do to find that right place of inspiration while they paint or draw. Same applies with writers.

Sometimes I’ll type on my bed, but that isn’t very comfortable simply because it’s where I sleep. While I typed “Soul’s Little Lie” book one, I did lay on another bed from time to time when I was married. The reason – the energy was there at that time. I even typed parts of it sitting in my childhood 1930s wood oak desk in the living room of the apartment. (since then I gave the desk away and I think I should not have, oh well.) However, trying to type in the ragged; falling apart recliner that was my ex-husband’s, didn’t fair well in energy. It smelled and was dusty. It was comfortable for a few minutes, but not for long. Then I’d find myself back in the queen size bed typing away a few more pages.

Another location I tried and I don’t recommend this for everyone, was at a cafe called Zippy’s. The atmosphere was inviting. Charming with little nick-nacks of bikes hung on the wall. Pictures of Zippy the dog. Local artists finished canvas paintings up for sale. The coffee was good. The black bean, cheese, spinach quesadilla with hummus was fantastic! However, it was noisy but not too much. I plugged in my IPod ear buds and turned on my ITunes collection. No matter how much music I drowned out of the background noise it didn’t work. I had barely typed one full sentence before I realized there were too many people around. My eyes kept getting distracted with movement around me. I would sense the presence of someone about to get up from their table or chair, or even the couch. (They had great couches there with plenty of pillows) Zippy, the male black spotted; white coat dalmatian, was walking around checking out all the customers and even came to see me. I realized this was not working. Ate my tasty, homemade quesadilla, packed up my laptop and headed home.

The basis of a comfortable location for any writer of any level is this: when the energy strikes pulling you to a part of your house or apartment or even a location in your school, listen to your instincts. The proper location can make or break the time you take to write a new story, article or full novel. Yes, by all means write anywhere when the mood strikes and always bring a notebook and pen with you just in case ideas start flowing. Not all of us have those fancy IPhones or IPads or other tablet devices.

Just like location is everything for a new store to take root, this same principle applies to writing – location, location, location. Find a place comfortable that feels just right for that special energy that will propel you forward into your next best work. When that ‘typing location’ goes stale, pick up your butt and your work and move to a new location. The same applies with finding just the right place for a picnic or a perfect tree to lean against to read a good book.

Writer’s Block a sad, lonely experince

I have 5 new novels in my mind. As an enjoyment or past time, I come up with titles as the basic story forms in my mind. I then type down the title and make a new computer file. Well, then, all goes quiet…for awhile.

The writer’s block than hits, hard. I get distracted with internet goofiness. I start feeling depressed. I start making mental excuses, but I know typing up the first few paragraphs is how you start running. You don’t just sprint out there suddenly expecting to keep your breath as you zoom past the other ‘thoughts’. You have to start out slow, jog a bit to keep your pace. But then you see the other thoughts catching up towards you and you begin to panic. You then see the pretty colors and sounds that distract you from the work ahead. You feel bogged down but with a false sense of glee. Then the procrastination hits. You look to the distance and you see the ‘runners’ (your other thoughts) disappear into the dust. You sigh heavily and go back to your distraction instead.

Then, suddenly, you glance over. You see the thoughts that ran past you, are now behind you! You gather your supplies. Your fingers hit the keyboard to open the file. You read what you wrote and then you start from where you left off. Now you are off and running. You realize you are on your way. You don’t look back at the ‘thoughts’ trying to catch you. You focus…you type…Oh My GOD…the story is getting good! You can’t stop. You’ve made one lap around the track! You’ve made a second lap! Then…the writer’s block starts all over again cause the lagging behind ‘thoughts’ waited for you at the starting line. They pounce on you like a dog pile. You think it’s over. You sircome to the heaviness of the cycle all over again.

This is how it is for me. Over and over again, but I’ve caught onto this odd behavior. This is how it ‘happens’ to me –

1) Story pops into my mind

2) Title pops into my mind

3) Write title down by making new file folder on laptop

4) Take a few days to a month away to ‘cure’ the meat of the new story

5) Do research online, in personal library and from real life bits

6) Write a few paragraphs

7) Get online, watch YouTube videos for a few days to a week

8) Go to my day job, new story festers in my mind, but I can’t write it down until I’m on break (ARGGGHHH!!!)

9) Come home, look through new written notes, add them to current computer file notes

10) Start cycle all over again

 

Here are the titles of future works I’m working on. They are in order of how they come to be in  my  mind.

(The ** are those I have written a little into already)

Mythia (hahahaha…finished first draft 370 pages, nearly 200k word count, but it’s crap, really it is)

Soul’s Little Lie (edited all 5 drafts myself, but waiting for editing from professional)

Broken Roses **

Dreams of Lotus

Metal Staircase

The Island **

$300 Shoes

Eastener **

Devil’s Play

To Love Thy Inner God

Darker Side of Fandom

I Am Haunted

Goodnight, Mother **

 

So, as you can see I have a lot on my plate. There are so many stories to choose from I don’t know where to start first. To help me sort out the chaos I’ve made a list for myself on my days off from regular work and for when I come home from regular job.

1)Write one chapter or 5 pages of any new novel

2) Transfer a sketch to finished paper

3) Read a chapter or more of the books you already bought

4) Take a 15 minute break every two hours of working

 

This is going to be new for me to kick my weary self into working on my novels. I need to discipline myself to get what I want out of my life. No more mopping around in emoland. No more waiting for it to the work for me! Time to kick my own ass into gear if I want these books to be in full form in my hands and in my personal library and most of all, to share with the world!

I hope my tips helped you out. If lists like this are already used in my day job, why can’t they work for me in my future publications? These lists are not bogging me down. They are to lift me up so I can have fun at what I love to do – Tell stories of the craziness in my mind!

Take care!

 

Just a little something…

I had been looking at WordPress.com for a few months now. A friend of mine hooked me up with the author Eden Glenn https://www.facebook.com/EdenGlenn?fref=hovercard

I then struck up a conversation about my novel series that I wanted published. Well, she told her publisher Rebel Ink Press and I sent in my manuscript. The ball is rolling right now. This is why I finally created my WordPress.com website.

A little about myself: Graduate of the Art Instruction School. My day job is Michaels Craft Store in the frame department. In my down time I continue to write my series of novels and on breaks I watch YouTube. I go to movies all the time with friends and take walks around town.