Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Let Me Serve As an Example

...of what not to do!

I need to get to work on my revisions, but first I have to rant about my own stupidity. I was looking at fiction markets for a friend, and I noticed that there were a few that will take reprints and I started thinking, "What do I have that I could consider sending in?" My mind went back to my very first published science fiction story, "Twelve Traditions" which appeared in the May issue of SF AGE (now defunct.) I have about two zillion paper copies of the magazine because, as I mentioned, it was my first EVA professionally published short story (technically I'd sold "Irish Dreams" to Dreams of Decadance, but at the time that mag was considered semi-pro.)

Do I have an electronic copy of that story anywhere?

Oh, sure, one of those little square disk-thingies probably has a version of it, but do I have one on any media I can ACTUALLY READ!!!????


The ironic part of this? I should know better. My partner can laugh right into my face when she reads this. Shawn, if you don't know, is an electronic records specalist (among her many duties at the Minnesota Historical Society) and I've listened to her practice her talks about migration and all the things you need to do in order to keep your files readable in the future.

I should also note that my made-of-awesome archivist partner DOES, in point of fact, have CDs which we can still read on our tower computer that have back-ups of all my writing files from as far back as September 2001. Given that the short story I'm looking for was published in 1999, I had hope that I would have kept an electronic copy of it... but no. So all the blame falls squarely on my shoulder. In fact, I can very easily see me saying to myself, "Well, this is in print now. Why would I ever need another copy of it?"

I have a partial of it on my website, but not the whole thing. I think one of my weekend projects after I finish my revisions and do some more work on the NEW short story I've been plotting, is to sit down with the magazine and re-key the damn thing.


So, listen up, kids! Save your work. Then, when you get a new computer, transfer your old work. Some day you may be facing the same problem I am: you've got all those pen drives sitting in a dish, but the new interface in your brain only takes data crystals! The future is closer than you think!!!


Chrystoph said...


I hope this helps.

(sorry for the messy URL)

I am not an Amazon affiliate, but this is a good deal. I use a similar product in technical support, so I know where you are coming from.

tate hallaway said...

Wow, an external floppy disk drive with a USB port!

I should seriously consider investing in one of these babies. Because my first novel also seems to not exist in electronic format outside of Torrent and other pirate sites.

Sean M. Murphy said...

Also, Tate, you should first try to OCR the story and just clean up the typos from that transfer process. It'll save you a ton of time.

JoniB said...

Or you can just take it to a FedEx Kinkos and they can put it on another storage device for you. When my dad died he had some mysterious files on an OLD tape backup system that they were able to transfer to CDs for me. Turned out they were pictures no one knew about. Way cool.

Paul said...

I actually have a (published) story that was composed on a typewriter. It never existed in electronic form. But I wanted to post it on my blog, so I rekeyed all 4,900+ words!

Even after 20 years, I'm proud of the story. Maybe the measured pace that old-school typing required mean more thoughtful pieces.

tate hallaway said...

All good advice. I also have a friend who said he'd willingly scan it for me as long as I gave him a signed copy of the story to keep *grin*