Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dropbox Anyone?

I'll confess right up front that I'm terrible about backing up my documents. I was using a memory stick for a while but only remembered to do it once a month or so. Then there was the emailing-novel-to-myself phase. I remembered to do that about twice a month. I checked out some of the online services that you pay for (mozy, etc), but I'm so cheap I just can't stand paying for things if I don't have to. (Actually, I think they offer 2 gigs free now.)

But still, I thought there must be another way.

I just discovered dropbox. I'm not terribly tech-saavy, so this may be old news, but I'll share anyway. You go to dropbox, download it, and a folder will appear on your computer. Anything you put in this folder can be accessed from any computer connected to the internet.

They market dropbox as a way to organize your files across multiple computers, phones, etc, but all of the files you drop in your dropbox folder are also instantly uploaded to the internet. So, if your computer breaks and your phone bursts into flames, you still have access to your files via "cloud computing."

Now, when I sit down to write, I open Chapter 18 from the dropbox folder and work on it. When I hit "save," the doc is saved not only on my computer but also on the internet. I don't have to remember to back up. I don't have to do anything special. I'm loving it.

So, what do you use to back up your writing and how do you like it? Ever tried dropbox? Have concerns I haven't thought about?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In the middle of the night

You know how sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night with what you think is a brilliant idea for your story? I did that last night. I thought about it for a while, after having trouble falling back to sleep. I thought about it long enough that I remembered it this morning, even not having written it down.

The problem is that in the light of day, it's not really such a good idea. It basically removes all but the simplest conflicts from my story, leaving it kind of old-fashioned with no real stakes for the main character. What is it about three thirty in the morning that makes us think we're brilliant?

Thursday, October 7, 2010


You know how we're supposed to write obstacles that get in the way of what our main character wants? I'm having a lot of those lately. Right now, for instance, I want to go to the James River Writers Conference tomorrow. But the obstacle is that I have a drippy, sniffly, chest-rattling cold and really should stay home. If I'm feeling up to it by Saturday, I may just do a one-day visit.

Alison will soldier on tomorrow as the sole Slushie. If you'll be at the conference, tell her hello. She's awesome. She called to check on me, and I'm hoping she takes some notes for a post-conference sum-up of her own.

My head hurts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Short and Sweet

We've all got a lot going on this week. Sarah is preparing for her trip to the Nevada SCBWI, where she is going to participate in their mentor program. Alison and I are going to Richmond for the James River Writers Conference. I've looked at the list of registrations, and I know we'll see a couple of you there.

JRW offers a five minute agent "elevator pitch" session to conference attendees. I haven't had one in three years. Two years ago the agent I was supposed to pitch couldn't make it due to illness. JRW arranged a substitute, but it was an agent who didn't handle books for children. I gave up my time slot to someone who might have a book that agent would represent. Last year I didn't have project I wanted to pitch.

So here I am, trying to tighten up my log line. I know what my book is about, and I can get it down to a sentence or two. I've rehearsed it enough not to ramble, but not so much that it sounds like a memorized speech. But I'd like it to sound more punchy, you know? So that's what I'm working on this week.

We'll post a sum-up of the conference next week.