March 1st, 2015



Saturday, with very little effort, I passed on through the 250,000 word barrier in the main YA novel file. Saturday was a 4001 word day alone.

It's been just a shade over two weeks since I reached 200,000 words (DW). This is twice the pace of a NANOWRIMO win, but that's not a fair comparison, as we are deeply involved in the middle of things and not starting from scratch. Middles of novels/stories are very different from beginnings and ends.

The thing is, I'm really not writing just one book. I need to know the story -- and I have to get ideas turned into words fast -- so it wouldn't work in this case to just write the first book and then say And there will be more... This is foolish, from the stand point that no one is paying me yet. But I am on sabbatical, more or less, so I have the time to let my fingers fly on the keyboards.

Have I mentioned backups recently?

It seems that I sometimes have to remind students that if you don't have copies of your files, you are basically wasting your time. It is never a matter of IF you are going to need a backup, it's always going to be WHEN.

On the other hand, backups are notoriously difficult. I dislike automatic cloud backups, because I want to control how I use my bandwidth. And the cloud? Also known as remote storage? The closest I get is to email myself critical files as attachments. But... having just one backup on one type of media AND in the same room as the computer, gives you only a false layer of protection.

Anyway, I was thinking about backups yesterday because I made a mistake. I should've hit Fn+F3 on ZEPPELIN to put it to sleep, but instead I did Start | Shutdown -- while Word 2010 was still open.

Of course, I am an old programmer and longtime computer user. I make extensive use of DOS Batch Files in the MS-DOS box -- COMMAND.COM in the old days and CMD.EXE on Windows NT4/2000/Vista/XP/7 NT-class machines -- which is way faster and gives you more control over the GUI Windows Explorer. I keep a Shortcut to CMD.EXE right on the Desktop, and it's usually the first icon I call upon.
C:\utility>copy con backout.bat
@echo BACKOUT Version 1.00 / 28 February 2015
@xcopy *%1*%2*%3* BACKFILE^Z          NOTE: ^Z = Ctrl-Z or F6 key.
You can run this with up to three arguments, such as:
E:\WORK(7A)\NTOVELS>backout prin 09 doc
BACKOUT Version 1.00 / 28 February 2015
E:A Princess of a Lost Kingdom 109.doc
E:A Princess of a Lost Kingdom Chapter List 109.doc
E:A Princess of a Lost Kingdom R-09.doc
3 File(s) copied
The first time you run this, XCOPY will ask if BACKFILE is a (F)ile or a (D)irectory. Hit D and boom -- files are backed up in a subdirectory. So if your main files get hosed for some reason, you have the last saved version right there.

Fortunately, Word 2010 is smart enough to decide during a Shutdown to make a last moment copy of the current file. A simple Save As replaces the previously written file with the newer text. No work lost.

Older versions of Microsoft Word would give you Recovered files, which almost always were OLDER than the last version of the file I saved!

The moral of the story: Save often. Have Automatic Saves enabled -- I have it set for 10 minutes. Have "Always create backup copy" enabled. Make your own backups. Carry a copy of your backups to the office or to home, as needed. In case of fire, grab the kid, the cats, the spouse, the flashdrive with the backups... (grin)

WHEN, not IF. You're welcome.

The current shiny counter:

The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.09 (02-28-15 Sa, 919 pages)

Now if you excuse me, I have some ice skates to put on and some motorcycles to ride. Or rather, my characters do. It says so on this little piece of paper I scribbled on at 4:04am just before I went to bed.

Dr. Phil
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Crossposted on LiveJournal

The Author Caught In His Natural Habitat

So Thursday I had commented to Mrs. Dr. Phil that I knew the camera on my new phone wasn't highly rated, but adequate. Neither of our LGs have a flash function, so I wasn't sure how hers did in available light. Next thing I knew, she'd shot me working at the desk.

ZEPPELIN, Wendy's Win 7 Toshiba laptop, sits on a laptop riser propped onto the keyboard tray. The ViewSonic monitor in the background hasn't been used in a couple of years, but it was purchased when my monitor blew up just before the 2004 Clarion workshop -- forcing me to take a brand new LCD monitor to Clarion. Good thing, too, because the desk in my room had no depth. (grin)
©2015 Mrs. Dr. Phil (All Rights Reserved)

The Dell mini-tower sitting at my feet, CAROUSEL, is Wendy's other Win 7 machine. It's been destined to go downstairs, or maybe take it to the office. But I haven't been downstairs in two years, since the basement flooded which was the probable source of my heel infection (grin) and Western finally handed me OUEST, a Windows 7 Dell laptop that... sits on a laptop riser propped onto the keyboard tray. With a ViewSonic monitor in the background.

I am nothing if not consistent.

Dr. Phil
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Crossposted on LiveJournal