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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.


Kate Chaplin said...

I think Lin would have taken her sword to the computer and unleashed her frustration. Screw the warranty. Then beg Dafydd to get her a new computer....and type the pages for her.

quietspirit said...

I am sorry, I haven't read any of your books. I have some questions that might help with your problem.

How old is Lin?
What is the relationship between Lin and Dafydd?
Is there anyone close to Linn that you could develop a friendship/competition with?

Cecelia Lester (Ind Writers Connection)

Molly Daniels said...

Hey Deb:) Interesting concept! I'll link you to mine so I can check in with you more often.

My PC crashed in June, and I was frantic, because if my flash had the virus too, it meant the end of about 6 months' worth of work. Fortunately, the flash was virus-free:)

wendy-waring said...

Ask around, maybe someone you know has a scanner? (Most university humanities departments will have one lying about the place somewhere...maybe you know someone who knows someone who...).

Then you wouldn't have to retype the printed pages, only the hand-written ones...which you'd have to do anyways.

Maybe this second bash at things will elicit new and more fabulous scenes for Lin!

Good luck.