Good morning, everybody! It’s the last weekend before Nanowrimo, so here’s a spotlight interview with Guilie from Quiet Laughter.
What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
Define “unusual”. Unusual to whom? To me it all looks perfectly normal, but then again, I’ve been known to consider wine before noon normal, or wasting a perfectly good Saturday traipsing along backroads chasing a stray and mangy dog to bring him to the vet. So maybe my “normal” isn’t quite up to par. I’m a pantster, meaning “plot” or even “plan” are words that confuse me. How can anyone plan anything to do with fiction? Characters have lives of their own, and as wonderful an idea as I may have for a story, the characters rule. (Yes, my fiction is character-heavy.) So I sit in front of the blank page, and imagine the character. Who is he/she? What do they want at that moment? What are they feeling? What makes them who they are? What are they doing? Who do they see, talk to? Why? And so a story is born.
HUGE drawback of being a pantster? The editing. I finished my first novel in August 2011, and have been editing it non-stop since then. Ran it through a couple of beta readers, then past my ever-trusty critique group (the Internet Writing Workshop,), hired a professional editor, next week will be her second pass after a six-month round of revisions. I do empathize with Picasso, going back to the museums to “fix” his paintings. It’s never finished, not ever. All I can hope for is to tell the story as well as I’m able before sending it out into the world. And yeah, I’m going the traditional agent-publisher route. Subject for another discussion, perhaps.
Where are your backup files?
Uh, backup? No, just kidding. I’ve never lost a WIP to the vagaries of cyberspace or cybertech, but I’ve heard enough stories to scare me into multiple backups. SERIOUSLY. DO IT. My Writing folder (which contains novels, short stories, notes on future opus magna, etc.) is not saved on my computer at all but on Dropbox. Additionally, I save a copy of it (yep, the whole folder) once or twice a week to an external drive. AND I have multiple copies on CD, too.
On a NaNo group in Facebook, there was recently a discussion about Scrivener and other writing software. Yes, I use Scrivener, will never go back to Word (not for the actual writing, although I do use it for final formatting), you cannot convince me there’s anything better than Scrivener, so don’t even try. And yeah, this is related to backing up. See, Scrivener allows you to take “snapshots” of your work. Say you finish a chapter, or scene, whatever. You take a snapshot, record it for posterity. Then you come back to edit (not during NaNo, eh?), and you go, “what the *#$% was I thinking?” and you start deleting like there’s no tomorrow: snipping whole sections out, copy-pasting paragraphs from the end to the beginning and vice versa, changing dialogue around, changing tags to action beats or beats to tags, whatever. And after an hour of merry snipping you realize you’ve totally–absolutely, beyond belief–ruined the chapter / scene. Ooops. Ha! But Scrivener, see, has saved that previous version in that snapshot you took. It’s right there for you to read, side-by-side with the new disaster. You can copy-paste from the previous version, or you can just hit “restore” and the disaster disappears. Oh, wait, you’re not sure the disaster is such a disaster after all? No worries–take a snapshot of it, and it’s saved. You need never again lose any bit of your writing.