Your writing software and backup methods of choice

  • 18 Replies
  • 518 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

*

Jedi Knight Muse

  • A muse that's a Jedi
  • Administrator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 3175
    • View Profile
Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« on: May 03, 2017, 09:59:45 AM »
The recent events with the library inspired me to write this post. We unfortunately had a few people who hadn't saved their challenge entries on their computers, or did but the file got corrupted, and since we only had the backup for up to last week, there was nothing we could do to help them retrieve it. It's definitely a lesson that was well learned by multiple people.

So, I was inspired to ask these questions.

What software do you use for writing your stories in? Do you use multiple software depending on what you're working on, or just stick to one? Do you use Microsoft Word? Scrivener? Google docs?

What do you use to backup your writing?


For me, I've been using Google docs for my writing challenge entries, and I also use it to share my notes and such with a few select people so that I can get their feedback.

I've been writing Storms of Magic in Scrivener, but I imagine that I'll eventually be sticking it into Microsoft Word as well as Google docs, too.

I also use Scrivener to type my ideas that I've written into my idea journals into, because then I can organize it (names, character ideas, plot ideas, prompts, etc).

I should probably be getting a USB to specifically use for backing up all of my writing stuff. Maybe even an external hard drive.

What about you guys?
Storms of Magic - Draft 2 Currently being beta read
Untitled sequel to Storms of Magic - currently being written!



*

CMMai

  • Apprentice
  • **
  • 50
    • View Profile
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2017, 10:46:18 AM »
My sister has real bad luck with laptops she has gone through like 6 in 4 years there has been many times i have had to pull her out of a depression due to the loss of works. Recently it happened again, her whole nano project gone she researched for it all year.

The point of all this is i am always getting on her case about backing up. I personally always print off my story (hence no editing until i am done with first draft) save it on my computers 2nd and 3rd hard drive and then on usb. Also as stated on other posts i write my story with pen and paper.

Once i type it up i use ywriter6 or Microsoft word.

*

JayLee

  • Master
  • *****
  • 505
    • View Profile
    • Paperweight Editorial
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2017, 11:31:27 AM »
Microsoft Word or Open Office for writing. I personally like the plainness of Open Office for writing sometimes a little better, because it doesn't think it's the most helpful program in the world (curse MS Word and its incessant need to autoformat my stuff). I looked into scrivener at one point because people swear by it. I hated it for writing. Especially for exporting into a useable format. It's nice for organization, but I wouldn't be caught dead writing in it. My primary concern being accessibility. I can jump on any computer with a word processor and get down to work in my book if I have a copy as is, but with Scrivener you can't do that. I also am not too fond of google docs, though it does in a pinch, especially mobile. I just don't really like the idea of cloud storage ('cause I was raised as a paranoid fool) and the minimal formatting capabilities.

For back-up, I'm probably a tiny bit excessive. I print each draft. I save original drafts in stages (about 20-40 pages per document). Then if a document is lost and cannot be recovered, you only lose a chunk of the story. I hand write all notes in a binder before typing them. I do the same for really important chapters sometimes (bonus being you get a free round of editing in while transcribing). I save each edited draft as a new document which is dated. I save everything to two to three flash drives. I email the document to myself and my two friends and email novels to each other so that there are two back-ups on two different computers in the world. I've lost a novel before... I vowed never to do so again. I also used to have nightmares about fires burning my house down all the time, so I was paranoid about fire burning my hard copies which is where my excessive digital backing up stemmed from (I still have the floppy disc with my first novel on it, from the very first $10 dollar computer my dad bought me from a garage sale when I started writing. Even back then (really, only ten years, I'm amazed my dad had a floppy in the house) I had to hunt an old computer down in order to get that transferred to a USB. I used to sleep with a tiny flashdrive around my neck).
Writer's Arithmetic: Cup of tea + blanket + book/sketchpad = Heaven
http://www.artbyjaylee.weebly.com/

*

ScribblerKat

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 128
    • View Profile
    • Kathy Ann Trueman - fantasy writer
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2017, 11:53:58 AM »
I think I'm a software queen - or software idiot, I'm not sure which. I do my actual writing in Word, although I'm giving serious thought to switching to WordPerfect. I use Scrivener for almost everything else, including character profiles, research, images, and of course outlining. (Love the corkboard.) I also keep timelines in Excel and an ongoing map in CC3+, and I even use PowerPoint if I need to keep track of traveling characters. (I snapshot the CC3+ map, because that program isn't label and line friendly, put it on a slide, and stick in lines with the dates over them all across the map.) I also use Media Player for white noise, so when I'm writing, I can have 6 programs open at the same time. Nutzo, but it works for me.

I back up my entire system regularly to a 2nd internal hard drive. I back up my Libraries and desktop to external hard drives, but not as often as I should (I'm trying to get into the habit of doing it every night, but I get sleepy). I keep the drives handy in case of fires or tornadoes, so I can snatch the latest one quickly. Every few months, I take the most recent of the external hard drives to my bank and put it in the safe deposit box, and bring the older one home to put back in the rotation. For current WIPs, my roomie reads each scene as I write it, so she has a back up of my story in segments on her laptop. Every few chapters, I email myself a copy.

All of that doesn't save me entirely, though. I've still lost parts of a story.

I don't use cloud storage of any kind. I don't trust it if I don't have it in my own hands, and the internet is less stable than a hard drive, IMO. I did experiment with DropBox, but it doesn't like Scrivener.
All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost

*

HSCook

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 119
  • There is no greater power than that in a pen.
    • View Profile
    • The Blood King Chronicles ~ Tales from Cyrell
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2017, 12:09:09 PM »
Generally, I use Scrivener, synced to drop box with duplicate backups on my computer and project files also sent to a USB and my NAS drive. After an extended writing session, I create a compile and an export to both dropbox and a USB so I can continue writing on any computer without Scrivener should I wish to, or on my tablet. Every time I open a project, I also take a snapshot. Just in case I cock up.

Scrivener exports perfect manuscripts for me with my settings for either printing or editing and the RTF files in an export allow me to write on-the-go and import back in without a fuss. Anything I write on the exports are saved to USB, NAS and Dropbox until I overwrite them.

When prompt writing, I generally don't save it. There has been nothing I've wanted to continue on with and few shorts that I want to keep. So I tap it out on my tablet as an exercise and sometimes they get saved but usually don't.
A true friend is a traitor indeed when they ignore what you want to do what you need.

*

Xyem

  • Librarium Developer
  • Global Moderator
  • Novice
  • *****
  • 47
    • View Profile
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2017, 04:16:46 PM »
Step 1: Write in something that provides a plain text output file (text, Markdown, Creole, LaTeX)
Step 2: Commit to distributed version control software (e.g. git)
Step 3: Push to a metric boatload of remotes (e.g. a LowEndBox @ 5 USD/year, GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket)
Step 4: Never lose anything ever again
Step 5 (Optional): Realise that you can share repositories with friends, adding even more backup copies of your writings across the world

*

ScribblerKat

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 128
    • View Profile
    • Kathy Ann Trueman - fantasy writer
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2017, 04:21:13 PM »
Xyem, you are definitely a developer. I only understood about half of that, specifically the parts that were in English. *thud*
All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost

*

MagicMagor

  • Librarium Testers
  • Journeyman
  • *
  • 166
    • View Profile
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2017, 04:42:03 PM »
Well i understood everything, but then i'm a developer myself.
For once step1 isn't necessary, git happily accepts any file format. But yeah that is a nerdy and convoluted way to backup :-)

Myself i use dropbox and Scrivener. I have dropbox synced to my laptop and set the scrivener backup-path to my dropbox folder. So everytime i save (or close scrivener) a backup is created and uploaded.

In the past i had used openoffice for writing (my first story i had actually written in Word 1.0 - back in the old Win3.11 area) but last year i bought Scrivener with the discount as a camp participant. Never regretted that decision. Having the draft and all the background-blurbs in one place is extremly helpful. (I'm a plotter, so i have a lot of background-blurbs) And that i can outline just by creating several blank documents, give them short synopsises and later fill them with the actual scene is also pretty awesome.
I'm also thinking about trying out Aon Timeline 2 but haven't tried the demo yet (i had hoped for a discount offer during camp but no luck)
Title: Tigerhall (WIP)
Status: Writing
Word Count : 34,711

*

HSCook

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 119
  • There is no greater power than that in a pen.
    • View Profile
    • The Blood King Chronicles ~ Tales from Cyrell
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2017, 05:27:18 PM »
I'm also thinking about trying out Aon Timeline 2 but haven't tried the demo yet (i had hoped for a discount offer during camp but no luck)
Aeon Timeline 2 is amazing!!!
A true friend is a traitor indeed when they ignore what you want to do what you need.

*

Silver

  • Global Moderator
  • Expert
  • *****
  • 381
    • View Profile
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2017, 06:00:39 AM »
I write in OpenOffice. It's free and easy to use.

Anything important, I tend to keep one copy on my laptop, put one copy on a USB device, and send a third copy to my brother for safe keeping. Over the years I have only lost maybe a handful of documents, and nothing on the scale of a novel or anything like that. Poetry and some short stories I tend to draft out in notebooks, which I keep.

*

Xyem

  • Librarium Developer
  • Global Moderator
  • Novice
  • *****
  • 47
    • View Profile
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2017, 01:09:42 PM »
For once step1 isn't necessary, git happily accepts any file format.
"Accepts" and "works well with" are very different things.

*

Jedi Knight Muse

  • A muse that's a Jedi
  • Administrator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 3175
    • View Profile
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2017, 01:51:32 AM »
@JayLee yeah, I don't love writing in the full composition screen in Scrivener, because I feel like when it gets to the bottom of the page in that screen, it's more of a pain with scrolling? Like, you can't just press return and give yourself more space on the page, if that makes sense. I dunno, I'm writing in it right now so I'm waiting to see if I'm describing it correctly. :P

It's been such a long time since I've written strictly in Microsoft Word. o.O Like, years, I think. I actually stuck all of what I've written into Microsoft Word earlier, so that I can have another copy of it in something other than Scrivener, and I plan on printing it out tomorrow. I like the idea of doing what you and @CMMai mentioned, with printing drafts every 20-40 pages or whatever, so that you always have a hard copy of it. I plan on doing that and sticking it right into my binder. I'm on page 25, but sadly that only consists of, like, a bit over 6,000 words at the moment.  :-\ There's a LOT that I have to go back and fill in, ugh.

I definitely need to get another USB to stick my writing onto.

I've tried going back to what I used to do when I was a kid, which is write stories in a notebook and then transcribe them, but ugh...it's so much faster for me to just type it from the start. I miss the days when I used to fill entire notebooks up with stories/scripts.
Storms of Magic - Draft 2 Currently being beta read
Untitled sequel to Storms of Magic - currently being written!



*

HSCook

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 119
  • There is no greater power than that in a pen.
    • View Profile
    • The Blood King Chronicles ~ Tales from Cyrell
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2017, 06:43:19 AM »
@JayLee yeah, I don't love writing in the full composition screen in Scrivener, because I feel like when it gets to the bottom of the page in that screen, it's more of a pain with scrolling? Like, you can't just press return and give yourself more space on the page, if that makes sense. I dunno, I'm writing in it right now so I'm waiting to see if I'm describing it correctly.

I use typewriter mode. I afore it. The text is always in the centre of the screen that way and it scrolls as you write. You never get to the bottom of the screen that way. Is that what you mean?

A true friend is a traitor indeed when they ignore what you want to do what you need.

*

Rohierim

  • Apprentice
  • **
  • 61
    • View Profile
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2017, 08:01:26 AM »
I use a variety of programs depending on my stage of the game.

Drafting: Storybox (It's the native Windows version of Scrivener, less bells and whistles but for writing does the exact same thing)
Editing: Plain old white pieces of paper and a colored pen. (I have vision problems when looking at screens so I can miss even the easiest errors if I edit on screen)
Formatting: I primarily format first in Microsoft Word. This allows me to create one document that will cover all forms of ebooks that I need to create.
Jutoh: Very easy WYSIWYG for formatting the epub file I need to upload to all bookstores.
Print Formatting: Adobe InDesign which is easily the industry favorite and creates beautiful pdfs for print and once you get past the learning curve very easy to use.

Storage: External Harddrive, Jump Drives. I stay away from cloud sources similar to Google Drive (Especially Google Drive) If you read the fine print of their terms of service you are basically giving the  rights to what you write to them so that they can use them as they see fit. Yes, I know the chances of them using what you save there for anything that would affect your writing is minimal, but as in all contracts the words are there for them to use. If one day they decide to monetize everything they have stored in Google Drive, there will be little recourse for those who use it.

Roh

*

Jedi Knight Muse

  • A muse that's a Jedi
  • Administrator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 3175
    • View Profile
Re: Your writing software and backup methods of choice
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2017, 10:45:21 AM »
I stay away from cloud sources similar to Google Drive (Especially Google Drive) If you read the fine print of their terms of service you are basically giving the  rights to what you write to them so that they can use them as they see fit. Yes, I know the chances of them using what you save there for anything that would affect your writing is minimal, but as in all contracts the words are there for them to use. If one day they decide to monetize everything they have stored in Google Drive, there will be little recourse for those who use it.

Roh

Well that's a little concerning. o.O There are a LOT of people out there who write stories that use Google docs, and I imagine there's probably published ones who've used it. What I like the most about Google docs is being able to give someone a link and use the comment feature to get feedback on what I've written. I mean, I can do the same thing with e-mail, but I'd rather use the comment feature, because then people can highlight and link a comment to a specific part of the document, and you can go back and forth with responses without mucking up the flow of the main document.
Storms of Magic - Draft 2 Currently being beta read
Untitled sequel to Storms of Magic - currently being written!