D.V. Sheppard

The web-log of a duck-herding author.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

For Why?

My laptop cord died. My laptop battery has been dead for awhile. This is serious news. Why? I obviously have access to a computer, and as I've not handwritten a manuscript in years, I can certainly continue the work I've deemed important. Well... I've lost my security blanket. It's not a REAL blanket, silly. My laptop has all my book info on it! All of it! I usually give myself a very brief run through before I start writing to prevent wasted time on work that is at its very conception useless due to a deviation on the current  course. Silly, yes, but it makes me feel insecure without it (and its not even the first Wednesday of the month!).

What's more- this shouldn't have happened. My Husby is a brilliant man and quite awhile back started preventing me from losing my most precious material possession, by backing up my WIP, and putting it on a drive of sorts so that it would never be stuck on a hard drive to be eaten in said hard drive's imminent demise. I speak from experience *sheds one tear for lost work*. My Husby is a superhero of sorts. Well it turns out that his arch nemesis is actual a hidden sabotaging streak that I was unaware dwelt within ME.

I thought my actions were harmless! I was just looking for a new writing program! My Husby even supplied it. I normally use Liquid Story Binder. Better than word, but definitely flawed. He brought Scrivener to my attention and I decided that I'd try the 30-day trial. I brought in all my writing, and started using the product. Incidentally, it was proving to be pretty awesome, and I was sneaking peaks at our bank account wondering if I could prudently drop the $40ish to buy it. I wrote and wrote, and then my computer died and died, and I didn't have a back up of what I'd written. After all - I figured I'd try the trial and then export my work to safety. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I wonder if I looked closer at the cord  if I'd find my own bite marks. That would add an additional "Dumb" to the lineup.

I haven't really lost anything but time (though that's an expensive thing). I'll get a new laptop cord and I'll get into my Scrivener and back up my work. It won't happen again. I just had to give myself four paragraphs of facing the truth of the event. Now I'll open up a Word document (*sigh*), and try to write.

Anyone use any writing programs to help with organization an' all that jazz?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Gee Golly, it's Giddy Good News!

I just have to take the opportunity to shout out some of the good news I've got! First! I've been feeling great lately. The last three years have been a doozy for me - and my husband. Things have been improving for numerous reasons - part of which was getting my job with Dr. Cool, and getting treatment from him. Lately though, things have gotten even better. Over the last few days I've felt like ME! Me for real! It's been years since I've felt like me - and I've nearly been in tears from the joy of it. It's amazing what getting the right help can do.

Second! And this is on the same thread as the first. Today my husband ended up mentioning that he hasn't had hip pain in about three months. He wasn't talking about a little stiffness or aching. He was talking about excruciating, zinging sciatica that was so debilitating at times that he couldn't walk, and lying down - sleeping!- was almost as bad. He's had amazing good news over the past few years. He got rid of his migraines, made his tummy happier, got his head back on straight - lots of things. However, I really worried that the hip was a structural issue that would never improve. It just kept coming back! I've been proven wrong! I couldn't be happier. The thanks all goes to God, Dr. Cool, and LAc. Cool. (If you think alternative medicine is a crock - you just haven't had the opportunity to see the masters at work. I have see miracles from God wrought by non-traditional doctors that would blow you away - and that is not an exaggeration.)

Finally the final good news! This awesome husband that I've made you all covet helped me with some brainstorming tonight. You see, recently I realized that the book I was writing needed to be split. I just couldn't get everything into one book without glossing over thousands of years of things happening or by making it a 700+ page book. I just didn't want the single book to be that long, while still skimming over things that I wanted the book to express. Well, who knows if I end up skimming the book down enough to make it into one again - but I feel good about the decision. However, this meant that I had to have a good splitting point. Well it turns out that the splitting point gave me a relatively small amount of writing left to do in order to finish book one (of two). Then comes the rough part - tomorrow (I guess today now, but whatever) is Saturday - which is my designated "write or you prove yourself to be a lazy bum day"- and I had serious gaps left in my outline of the rest of the book. My husband - being awesome, as you by now know - helped me fill in those gaps tonight. Not only that, but he helped me improve some of the plot arcs. Now I can get to work tomorrow with out having to brainstorm without my wonderful sounding board. My book is going to be great! I have the best muse in the whole world *gush*.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Those Coveted Beta-Readers

Heya ladies and gents!

You probably don't remember me, after I fell off the face of the map and all, but I still exist and I'm coming back with a vengeance. I had a crazy few weeks of building stress, followed by three weeks of crazy busy, and finished off with a week or two of recovery (ie., being sick as dog, cleaning my filthy house). To show the extent of damage this whole series of events caused: I wrote under 300 words in May, and in June I desperately wrote about 1700 words the last week, just to prove I couldn't go a whole month without writing. This in comparison to better months like April where I pulled out 16,000 words. I know 16,000 doesn't shine too bright compared to many writers - but, I'm proud of every little word (even if half of them get scrapped in the end).

But! That is all a diversion from the real topic today. As it's time for my IWSG post, I have a new quandary to inquire about. You see, I read posts by authors and authors-to-be in which they talk about beta-readers. Lately I've been thinking more about these blessed beings. I have two beta-readers currently. One is my husby. He rocks. He gives great feedback and is my biggest fan. My other beta-reader is one of my very best-est best friends who also writes. She's fabulous. Great writer. Also gives fantastic feedback. The sad news for me, is that she's had wonderful news that's going to take her away from me for almost two years. I'm losing one of my precious generous bundles of feedback and support. 

This leaves me feeling even more sparse than I did previously, but by-golly what do you do about it? I know it should seem kind of obvious, but I mean it. I've had people ask to read my work -- people who seemed intelligent and supportive and interested! So, with bile in my throat, I handed over this precious work  ----- and!!! Well, more often than not, they never got around to reading it, or didn't give any real feedback, or professed interest in more, then seemed to lose interest all together. Obviously it might simply be that they weren't a fan of the work itself, or the genre, etc., but more often, I've noticed that because I was giving them a WIP, they'd grow away from it, forget pieces, and re-reading was more trouble than it was worth just to read another partial. I'm rambling.

My questions are: How have you found success in this department? Do you only give beta-readers finished manuscripts? Do you just keep asking people? Do you get really selective? How many beta-readers do you have blessing your piece? How'd you get that help? 

P.S. Pardon my shotty writing :p I've lost brain cells and vocabulary from watching T.V. *Word - verb- that I can't remember* that currently. ---- Remedying! Remedying that currently. That's it. Wait. Is that a word?... Should that have been, "Currently remedying that bad habit"-? Geeze. Excuse me while I eat peanut butter with a spoon and stare out the window.