I’ve been virtually pulling my hair out for two weeks after a technical mishap with my current work in progress (WIP). I’ve been working on this series idea for years. It is complex, will be five books long (as it is currently planned)and has caused me many sleepless nights trying fix plot elements and character flaws and researching various elements for the story. I already have months worth of time invested in this project. So you can imagine my absolute panic when 15,000 words just disappeared from the manuscript.
I use Scrivener for writing. I compose practically every piece of writing using this interface because it is vastly more reliable than any other word processor I’ve used in the past. The major features are incredible and I may discuss them in detail later however, the feature that is most relevant to this situation is that Scrivener actually saves if you stop typing for two seconds. It is an automatic thing that happens when your fingers stop moving across the keys. It has saved me a lot of hassle. When you close the program at the end of your session or day, it creates a back up, which I typically email to myself and then back up onto an external drive on a regular basis for safe keeping. So, that this large of a chunk was missing absolutely baffled me.
It isn’t as though I haven’t lost manuscripts in the past. Every writer has. Whether it is misplacing handwritten pages in notebooks or losing a flash drive, or an email lost in cyberspace, it happens to the best of us. What was strange about my experience is that it wasn’t just the last 15,000 words that I’d typed that were missing. Chunks were gone from various scenes in odd places. But mostly what was gone were the parts that I’d found the most challenging to write.
This project has some very profound thematic elements that are deeply rooted in Christianity. I suppose I can admit that I feel a sort of divine inspiration through this series and for the most part, it has just flowed. That the words are gone is a bummer but, I’m trying to take it in stride. In fact, I’ve sort of taken on the idea that the way it was written just wasn’t how it was meant to be. I’ve gone back to the drawing board with the missing parts and have tried to sort out the continuity issues with what was missing. Ultimately there isn’t much I can do besides plug on.
I’m not sure that there is really a lesson in all of this. I back my work up regularly to avoid these mishaps. Perhaps the lesson is that sometimes things really are just out of our control.
Tomorrow is the Big Game Day. I was invited for the day to spend time with some dear friends and my boyfriend. I think I need a day off from it actually; just to recharge a bit and get my bearings again. I’ll be talking shop helping a friend set up a blog of her own and likely looking over a story for another friend but, I don’t mind talking shop and helping people out when I can. The guys may likely be engrossed in the game. While I am not necessarily a football fan, I’ll be enjoying the company and laughing all the same.