Saturday, February 25, 2012

A rare thank-you to RWA

I don't mean to diss RWA, but I haven't gotten much out of it in late years other than the ability to join up with other writers (like those in FTHRW and my local chapter). If I didn't need membership in RWA to be in those groups, I'd drop it like a hot potato for many reasons.

But I have to thank them for one thing that has been useful to me lately: I seldom read the RWR, usually batching them to read in clumps when on trips, etc. I pulled out an article from one that looked interesting and finally got around to reading it last night.

O.M.G. This might just save my sanity. It was an article by Jo Beverley about using WikiSpaces to organize the data she has about the characters in her series of novels. I'm working on a multi-generational series of books, and I've tried just about every way to organize it that I can think of. I got to WikiSpaces and I knew I Found It. I'll spend the next few days organizing what I have then I can update it whenever I need.

The one downside is that it isn't portable, in a sense. I must have an Internet connection to access the information. But I soon realized that I am seldom away from an Internet connection, I can print the info if I need to, and the online-method is really the way I think of that data anyway: as a series of interconnected links, etc.

I can also use this method for my other series, which will interlink with my multiple-generations series as well. I can create a separate Wiki for it and link that to the current Wiki, then I can easily find the information that references ... well, it's mind-boggling how easy it will be ONCE I get it set up (I have visions of happy evenings getting everything organized to my satisfaction).

So thank you, RWA, for the RWR, which 90% of the time I just skim and toss. This one article may be worth the price of admission this year for me.


Rolynn Anderson said...

JL, I've been looking for this link for ages! I heard about it once but it slipped my mind. Bless you for sharing the knowledge. I've got two books in a series written and am going nuts trying to keep eye color, etc. straight. You are the best mentor, ever! Rolynn

Liz said...

Wikis are soooo useful, aren't they? And you can actually set up a Wiki on your computer. All you'd need is a program like MAMP (for Mac, but there are PC alternatives) that will simulate a web server on your machine, and a Wiki framework, both of which are open source (aka free). It's pretty easy to set up, but if you're not comfortable installing things, you could probably get a IT student to set it up for you for the cost of a pizza.

J L said...

Rolynn, this has been a life saver for me. Hope you find it useful. And Liz, thanks for the pointer. Right now I'm just archiving the Wiki as my backup, but it would be nice to have a local version. I'll look into it.

Josie said...

I remember reading this article in the RWA magazine. I save these magazines, so I'll go back and see if I can retrieve it. Sounds like a big help, as I'm always mixing up my characters. ;)