“She needs back up.”
Those of you who also worship at the shrines of St Buffy and St Joss will recognise those words with no further ado. You will also note the clever play on words in that last sentence (‘ado’: geddit?). For anyone else: I’m sorry for you but it is not too late.
Life’s never too short for catching up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I read an academic book recently, full of textual analysis of Buffy, that stripped all the life out of Joss Whedon’s sharp humour and observation, so brilliantly terse and witty and wise. Those last five words in turn are an homage to E.F. Benson’s Lucia. It’s an homage-y sort of day.
‘Once More, with Feeling’ epitomises for me everything that is awe-inspiring about Joss Whedon. He risks a hugely-successful series to include a musical: one that he has written and directed. It does everything imaginable: moves on the plot, defines and explains characters and their actions, is technically accomplished and manages to be moving and utterly hilarious at the same time. This one episode alone earns him the title of writing genius as far as I’m concerned.
So: to back up. I’m rubbish at it: the singing, the watching the back of the person who saves the world (A Lot) and, even more importantly, the IT variety. At the bottom of the living room cupboard by the window, there is a laptop that maybe, just maybe, still contains every existing photograph of my honeymoon. I watched the screen catch fire a year or so ago and have never dared to check that what seems like a very dead machine is in fact deceased.
I’d rather hold on to the little hope that it might not be. Those photos aren’t backed up anywhere.
Last night, while watching another genius at work – Graham Linehan’s final IT Crowd on 4OD – the screen of the machine on which I’m writing went black. We switched it off for an hour and you probably heard my sigh of relief as it rebooted.
So today, I’ve been backing up the 70K of my novel that was backed up by Scrivener – but only on this machine where the software’s also downloaded. All my writing eggs in one basket. Now it’s also safely in the interwebs on My Writing Spot; twee name but great service for writers by Google. And breathe. I just have to remember to do so every day.
This week I have mostly discovered that out of every hundred words of my prose, at least 50 will be ‘that’. I ‘m trying to stop my teen protagonist sounding either like a middle-aged academic studying mythology or a foot-stamping toddler. I’m getting better at varying sentence beginnings so they don’t all start ‘I’ (get lost, Freud) and not every single sentence still has someone frowning, sighing, turning or gasping.
Whedon-don is unattainable, I know. But the writing’s getting better and it’s still great fun.