Have to blog this. Writing means not just having the correct form of words, but capturing the essence of a thought. The way it comes out is the form.
Going back to 06/09/2016, we were in the middle of preparing to move house. House moves are stressful at the best of times but in this instance we’d been given short notice. My PC, along with other stuff was packed away by early September 2016. My connection to computers be limited to an old lap top which won’t run my writing software (and work).
A year on I’m rebuilding my connection with works still to complete, and I was looking at Lucky. Lucky has had a bit of a troubled history. Lucky, herself, is a refugee from a long dead civilisation and she’s hiding out Up North. Early July 2016 I took it on myself to extend her misadventures on Earth – and was of course interrupted by the move.
It’s my normal practise to type up narrative as I did it, but last year my desktop PC had to be packed away and writing had to end. Stopping writing doesn’t mean the ideas stop. What do you do with when you’ve no good place to put them? For some months my house was in such a mess that I lost contact with Lucky’s tale; in fact my entire regime began to crumble. The situation of one particular work-in-progress from many, didn’t stand out. There were existential matters to deal with such as my laptop randomly cutting out, and a dying USB memory stick. And so Lucky went on a backburner.
I began to pick up on things a couple of months back and I knew, as you do, that one or two projects might need some tidying up. On the other hand, in my heart of heats, I was confident that I’d stuck to my regime of saving everything onto my writing software. One thing and another, I drifted back to Lucky; a couple of interim projects had been completed and I’d put a salaciously sexy bit of SF on hold (partly because I felt it would corrupt morals!)… I wanted to see how things stood.
As I looked through my files I felt certain something was missing… I knew from the story that a monster morphing scene was missing – because that was the logical direction of the story, but I wasn’t sure how much was missing; all I knew was I’d somehow contrived to lose part of the story. Yet it couldn’t be lost as I remembered tons of details. I hunted high and low, trawling writing software, backups, deleted files… I spent a good week with absolutely no success. I began to assess how many words would be needed to plug the loss – 200 to 500, maybe even more – but I held back because:
a) an imitation isn’t as good as the real thing (for a long argument on that can I refer you Aristotle’s Poetics)
b) it might turn up
The days passed and (b) was becoming increasingly unlikely. Tonight, in a wild throw of the die, I made the heroic assumption that it might have been saved, in ODT. I rarely use ODT for anything but generating PDFs, but because it wasn’t in DOCX, DOC, WNW, TXT or BAK – which is where the bulk of my effort went – I was out of options.
And Bingo! There it was. And not 200 words or even 500 but a full 2,200. that’s getting on for a chapter!!!
With hindsight, what I must have done was use my lap top but only save to my ageing USB drive. The USB drive failed over 2 months back but I made a complete copy of it’s contents just before it finally packed up. However as everything from it was ‘store until needed’ I overlooked an obvious file: it was named after a minor character (central to the storyline I thought lost!) Convoluted, but a result. I am immensely relieved and I don’t have to re-invent what has already been created.
Now I can get on with form-memory, Chekrikheff, rogue asteroids and the like.