MOPNoWriMo Day 17: Back That Shit Up (15/2/2012)

Day seventeen: Target wordcount: Still 72000. Words written: 72200

Another chapter done and my secondary characters continue to show off. Most books I write end up this way. The lunatics take over the asylum.

I’m at an easy time where I know exactly roughly what’s going to happen for at least the next chapter so tomorrow ought to be straightforward enough too. The rewrites will have to smooth out the way the spotlight of attention jumps too abruptly among the characters who weren’t supposed to get this much (I guess it’s their way of getting attention). I’m still worried about total wordcount too, but from where the story has reached, a lot of what I had planned for the last third of the book is looking like superfluous noodling about that can be easily cut. In the first draft, noodling deserves to die. Always. All of it. If some noodling aids the pacing or atmosphere, rewrite it in later, but it probably doesn’t otherwise it would feel like a significant development of the story and not like noodling. It looks very very likely that the ending is going to look something like the one I originally intended, and the characters on whom the next synopsis hangs will still be alive and with all the necessary physical and mental capacities. Not quite the home stretch yet, but I can see it in the distance.

Today is weekly backup day. In part that’s because I’m off for a few days to the Jorvik festival, which ought to put me in the right mood for writing about vikings hitting each other lots, should that happen to be in any way relevant. There will probably be a short pause in the daily mutterings while I spend three days in a hotel room with two small children. Any words that get done will be an unexpected bonus. As will any shreds of sanity that I still have when I return.

I’ve never had a total catastrophic system failure and I am absolutely sure that the moment I get slack about backing things up, it’s just waiting to catch me. I usually keep two copies of every working document which I save regularly while I’m working on them. Does that sound stupid? The last time I had a two hour session at the keyboard without doing that was April last year. It ended with the battery running out and the laptop dying – which should have been fine and hardly damaging at all thanks to Autosave, except that the power failed right in the middle of the Autosave and corrupted it and that was the end of that. Session gone. And that was unreasonably annoying. A couple of hours isn’t that big a deal, but it damn well felt like it at the time.

I’ve seen systems clap out and die in an unrecoverable mess. Or even a recoverable one if you don’t mind pulling out the hard drive and wiring it up to a different machine, but that’s a tedious enough thing to have to do. I’ve also seen backup devices that have seemed perfectly fine when sending files to them, only to discover that they’re somehow borked and can’t be read from (how does that work, world? HOW?) Looking at it now, even an external backup once a week seems pitiful. I could loose 25000 words. I would be hellish to be around until I’d written them back. If that had happened to me a dozen books ago, I would probably have lost the will to live.

Back Up Your Shit, People.


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