Sunday, July 26, 2009

Technology: It hates your novel more than you do.

Without technology I definitely would not be as effective of a writer. Oh, sure, before my family had its first computer I wrote everything out by hand. But once the keyboard was in my hands I suddenly wrote everything faster (and because of all the writing I did, I can churn out, not kididng, about 120 wpm) and now juts CRINGE at the idea of writing just about anything long-hand. Heck, let’s face it kids, if it weren’t for LJ/bloggers in general I wouldn’t even keep a diary.

Suffice to say, I do all my writing, save for random notes I sometimes actually feel compelled to write when I have no electronics around, on the computer. It all started when I was in middle school and we got our first computer. It was a clunker, a total piece of work from the early 90s (and back when Unisys was a company making monitors, apparently, because that’s what he had) but it was our first ever, and I put it to awesome use. Computer guy pointed out to me the ever shiny “Wordpad” that comes with Windows and the rest was history.

Back then I was a very, very prolific writer. I wrote about a new novel every couple of months. Much of this was thanks to having not many other responsbilities in my life, and less distractions such as the internet…I would come home from school everyday and sit in front of the computer: writing.

That computer sucked, and was so behind that it couldn’t even play CDs (let alone burn them) and this was before there was such a thing as USB. After my family bought a brand new computer (and brought internet along with…oh boy, dial up!) the old clunker was moved into my room. Now I could write in my room! Which I did, for many years, all through high school.

It was on that computer (that I never named unlike my computers I have now) that I wrote the first drafts for Nagnomei: The Key of Nixey and The Scrolls of Europa. I also wrote quite a few shorts stories and novellas, as well as song lyrics and poems that rested on that harddrive for many years After I graduated high school my parents bought me a big, shiny laptop. Transferring files was easy…kind of. Since the only way to move files off the Clunker was via the archaic A-drive (floppies!) and my laptop (that I still have and am typing this on now) I had to use my family’s computer as the go-between: put the floppy into Clunker, transfer files to Desktop, put files onto USB, transfer files to Laptop. Problem solved.

The Clunker stayed in my room for another couple of years while I went off to do college things. As you can probably guess, now with a handy laptop I do all my writing from it. (And my other tinier laptop, but that’s for on trips). Finally, this past winter, I decided it was time for the Clunker to leave. It was taking up valuable desk space in my room, I never used it, and I wanted the space to be able to put my laptop down when I wanted to use it in my room while at home. I decided that it was best to backup everything, even old files I never touched since middle school. I took out a bunch of old, clean floppies and saved all my files on them before saying goodbye to Clunker as it went off to the dump.

The floppies went in a pile on my desk, never to be touched until I wanted them. Well, this past week, I wanted them.

You see, during my last major rewrite of The Key of Nixey here, I realized I needed to research something I originally said in a deleted scene in an old draft that I didn’t have on my laptop. Well, that meant taking the appropriate floppy over to the family computer, transferring it to USB, and bringing it back to my laptop.

There was just one problem: I couldn’t access the files.

My family bought a new computer (from the old one I originally used to transfer files) sometime ago, and even though this one had a floppy drive, the computer itself refused to acknowledge anything was in there. Fearing that it may be a corrupted floppy, I tried inserting other ones, even a clean one, and still the machine refused to tell me that anything was in there. I asked my family if they ever used the floppy drive before, and they said no…maybe it’s just dirty, but no matter how I looked at it I just couldn’t help but feel betrayed by technology.

I really, really want those files now. As the kids say today, “fml”.

Monday, July 20, 2009

"X" marks the failure.

Some authors can come up with plots like it’s no big deal. *coughstephenkingcough* And some others take a few years to even get a plot point that they think is worth going with. I kinda fall in between…sometimes I have a flash of brilliance and write down the plot idea in my little orange notebook, and other times I go through dry spells that leave me staring at those pages like they’re gold or something.

But wherever you fall on the spectrum…it still really, really sucks to find out later that one of your ideas has already been done! (Reminds me of “Simpsons Did It!”) This happened to me recently. A few years ago I came up with a pretty good plot idea, I thought. It wasn’t a story I would work on write away, maybe towards mid-life, but I kept it in the back of my mind and expanded on it when I had the time.

And then, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered that it had ALREADY BEEN DONE. Almost ver-batim. And was a best selling novel. And a movie classic. (No, I won’t share which one it was, it’s that embarrassing.)

But regardless, it’s a horrible feeling. On one hand it’s nice to know that the idea would’ve been very well received granted it was never done before…but on the other you kinda have to wonder why you had to be born about thirty years too late.

Nothing quite so painful as opening up that orange notebook and putting a big “X” through that particular plot page. =(

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Exposure: When it's totally legal.

Chances are you are reading this from any of three current sources, for now “Musings of a Procrastinating Author” is being broadcasted to three different channels. Two are WordPress related and one is a Livejournal account. I will provide all three links below…if you have an LJ account you can friend the LJ blog and get the updates loaded to your friend list every time I post something…or you could just add the WordPress blog to your blogroll if you have an account there, or frequent the blog attached to my official site…it’s all up to you! <—official site blog <—Wordpress blog, can be added to Blogrolls. <—Livejournal blog, can be friended to your account.

And now…for the real update.

If you’ve been following this at all, you may notice that I’ve been MIA for the past, oh, seven months. Truth is I’ve been abroad in Japan since late winter, with very little internet access. The upside to this though is that I got a lot of writing done which makes me quite happy! Now I’m back Stateside and it’s time to get back to my old wind and grind. Hmm.

My writing schedule as of late seems to comprise of two sets of time: Nagnomei in the afternoon/evening when I am my most lucid, and CROSS// late at night when typos and incoherent plot holes are a-ok! Between these two times I pretty much just play Sims 3. And trust me, the next update will be about Sims 3.

Because I…tend to recreate novels in the Sims? And I have no life. Both apply.

Dang, does it feel good to be back!