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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Writer's Worst Nightmare

I thought I was making good progress on the third novel in my House of Pendragon series—working title The Warrior. By the end of July, I had more than 30K words written. I wasn’t writing in a linear fashion but rather as scenes came to me. I had a few chapters for the opening where I write in Lin’s present time, I had a scene and partial scene for the opening flashback and a few others dealing with the various plot threads I have going including the reunion with Modred which is really the meat of the entire series. I also had a scene for an ending to the flashback—emotional stuff dealing with Dafydd. A decent start considering I’m such a slow and methodical writer: read non-prolific.

Then I experienced a writer’s worst nightmare. My computer died. Totally froze up. Turned out the hard drive was toast. The good new: it was still under warranty, so I now essentially have a brand new laptop and it didn’t cost me anything. The nightmare? And yes, I know it was own fault, I knew better. I hadn’t saved my manuscript to a disk. All 30K words were in the hard drive of the computer and were lost. Fortunately, I had the printed and hand-written pages of most of those chapters. There were a few scenes I hadn’t gotten to print out yet, so they are totally gone, except in memory. I’ll need to re-build those.

And now I’m back to re-typing all those pages. In a way it isn’t so bad, because it does give me a chance to get back into Lin’s point of view and her story and see those scenes with fresh eyes. I can edit as I go. But I was without a computer for nearly two weeks. Since I have a part time job, I already have precious little free time for what I consider my real job—writing. So two weeks was a long time.

And it made me frustrated that I lost all that progress and momentum. I finally got the computer back in mid-August. Of course it took time to get the programs back that I needed—MS Word, AOL, etc. That shot a few days worth of free time. But Lin and I are finally back to it and since August 16th I have re-typed 62 pages.

Of course, I had to just accept the situation and try to make the best of things now that I have the laptop back. Yes, I learned my lesson. I’m saving things on disk now. But I began to wonder—what would Lin do? So leave a comment and let me know what YOU think Lin would do. She’s a volatile character. Have fun with this. I know I’ll enjoy reading your ideas.