This was supposed to be a post about what I’ve been reading lately, but I think that will have to wait while I ramble on about something else: Yesterday, as I was working on the Witches sequel, my computer apparently took a dislike to the work and ate it. All 75,000 words of it. Gone. Not only did the computer close my Word program, it erased the entire document off of my thumb drive. It did do an AutoRecovery save at the last second, because I saw it before it vanished into the ether. So I didn’t panic. Then.
I opened up Word again. No message saying Word had saved the file I was working on and would I like to open it again? (Yes, please, I would have loved that. But no.) And that’s when I realized the draft was gone off my thumb drive as well. This is the point where I started to panic. I mean, I’ve been working on this story for two months, and this draft is scheduled to be finished this month, so that was a lot of work. I resisted the impulse to bang my head against the desk.
I checked the on-line help site, and came up with a whole list of things to try, including re-setting Word functions to recover a damaged file. No go. After two hours of this, I developed a headache (No, not from banging my head against the desk.), turned off the computer (a.k.a. “you piece of crap, give me back my story!) and retreated to regroup and take a nap. Which wasn’t very restful, let me tell you, since visions of re-writing all 300 pages kept flashing through my mind, along with a plan to get myself caught up on this by the end of the year while still accomplishing my other goals.
When I woke up, I took a deep breath, turned on the computer, and tried again. Three hours and countless document searches later, I finally found it. Well, most of it. I lost about 500 words, but really, in the scheme of things, what’s 500 words? It was stored in some temporary file somewhere, and I was so happy to see it that I could have kissed the screen.
Now, after my best friend had her hard drive crash a couple of months ago and lost everything, I made sure to save copies of all my drafts to my two e-mail storage accounts. Did I have a copy of the Witches II draft there? No. Of course not. Do I now? Definitely. So, the morale of this story is: 1) Always, always, always back up your work, and 2) Prayers to the computer gods sometimes get results.
In a slightly different writing-related-crash, Holly Lisle has a new website where she does Writing Crash Tests. You should check it out, and see what happens with the Case of the Exploding Cat.