Monday, May 13, 2013

Progress Report

Well, it's taken a while but I'm finally back on track with my writing. Sad to say it, but, while life is still doing its darndest to derail things it was actually Neal himself that did it this time. For the last few years, I've stored my writing on an SD memory card with the words "current novels" scrawled on the front in marker. Not the most high-tech method of safekeeping, I know. I still occasionally emailed myself backup copies or saved it on whichever random computer I happened to be on, but for the most part it was that one little slip of blue plastic that held all of my work.

Man was that stupid. Obviously, as it was bound to happen, that card got... lets say misplaced rather than lost. It sounds nicer. I fond a few other version of GRAVES, the zombie book I'm trying to finish up but they were all woefully out of date. Like six thousand words out of date.

After much scavenging and a bit of cussing as well, it finally resurfaced a few weeks later and all was right with the world. And yeah... I went right back to saving it exclusively on the card again. Stupid me. 

Then something miraculous happened. My wife broke and let me buy something I've been wanting for a while - a wi-fi enabled hard drive. Seagate had a 2T version on sale at Staples for a decent price and we went for it. Initially, the plan was to make it easier for us to watch our downloaded movies on any computer, which works like a dream, by the way. We even found a channel on the Roku that allows us to watch movies and TV shows through the TV. (If they're the right format) I love it.

And I finally started saving my novels in a location that I can't drop in a cup of coffee or lose under a piece of paper. Now obviously, I need to have a backup location as well - I have Dropbox and Apple Cloud accounts I never use, but for now being able to access and write from any spot in the house and have it all saved to a central location is EXCELLENT.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Reviews - A New Way Of Looking At Things

The totally awesome Blythe Woolston posted an interesting blog the other day about reviews. Unlike  other authors, who recommend NOT reading reviews, she uses them to fuel her writing and make her a better author. It seems like there's about a 60/40 split on that logic, from what I've seen. I don't have that many reviews right now... In fact Mr. Pale has gotten a grand total of one so far, but her idea is something I'm totally going to use eventually.

In an attempt to create a subjective picture of the reviews for her novels, she takes the reviews, clumps 'em together and creates a Wordle of them. What's a wordle? That image above. The program takes your text and assigns a size based on frequency of use, then assembles it in an eye catching little bubble like that. I dig it. It's actually a semi-useful tool for writing to spot over-used words but it's also just a great way to waste time playing with colors and layout.

The great thing about doing this with reviews is that it gives you a picture of what words are used without the context, allowing you to focus subjectively on the overall impression of the reviews. No personalizing with the reviewer or anything like that. Very interesting idea.


Just after writing this, I noticed that I'd actually gotten a second review of my book on Amazon, which is great. Amusingly, my reviews have both been quick two or three sentence things. Mr. Pale would approve of the brevity.  So I made a Wordle.

My book is GOOD READ. 'Nuff Said! hahaha