Space Opera With a Twist

Being a Literary Packrat

I never throw out anything I’ve written. I’m running a home network with a server that has a 3 terabyte hard drive array so space is never an issue. With the advent of Netflix in our house, the urge to download and store movies or tv shows has pretty much died down, which means I’ll likely never fill up the server by the time the current hard drives reach the end of their live span and I replace them with something that has twice the capacity for half the price. All that to say, I can afford to save every bit I’ve ever written, and that’s a good thing. You have no idea how many abortive story lines I’ve accumulated, not to speak of my earlier writing efforts which, whenever I look at them, make me cringe (three truly awful space marine novels I wrote many years ago, only one of which, the third in the series, might be salvageable, if I were so inclined). All this provides me with a decent load of ideas, characters, situations and even entire chapters I can mine for a story line that is working out. I did it yesterday for the second Decker’s War novel, retrieving a sequence of events from an attempt I abandoned last year and I will likely be mining the unsuccessful first iteration of The Path of Duty for the third Siobhan Dunmoore book. I suppose that every so often, it just isn’t time yet for a particular idea to crop up in a series, not because the idea is bad, but because it’s too early in the (hopefully) lengthy career of the main protagonist. I’m not a big fan of accumulating physical stuff, but when it comes to words, especially those stored in electronic form, I can be persuaded that a bit of packratting isn’t a bad thing. By the way, I’m just about three-quarters done with the first draft of Cold Comfort. The end game is in sight and Zack Decker is sharpening his pathfinder dagger in preparation for a very personal revenge.


  1. Richard Strang

    Just don’t rely on your home network hard drives as the sole repository for your writing. I had a similar set-up that failed dramatically and the lack of back-ups was very painful. I now use Dropbox for everything, including scratch files.

  2. Eric Thomson

    I have backups, no worries there. It’s a miniaturized setup of what he have at work, with separate backups on separate media that run on regular schedule.


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