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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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.