Seriously?! Again? Lost and Found Words


So, I just spent about 3 hours being SERIOUSLY bummed.  (Spoiler alert – everything has turned out Fine.  Big happy sigh of relief.)

I started my Sunday off by turning on my Jack & Jill Pandora station and then proceeding to play Threes for like 3 hours straight.  (Mr. Aveline is an evil evil man for handing the compulsive woman in his life a game that could easily eat my brain and my days.)  Thing is, during those three hours I was also quite happily constructing back-story to explain some key elements of Jill’s relationship with Jack.  When I finally had to get up to pee and realized that  yes, I had actually wasted three whole hours on a mindless game I stopped.  Instead I went downstairs, said hello to my living-room full of people, took my laptop back into my cave my bedroom where I huddled and started typing out the scenario I had been playing in my head all morning.

Cut to 6 PM.  Laptop battery got low and the computer spontaneously shut itself off with NO warning.  Minor heart-attack.  Go downstairs, grab a bite to eat, acknowledge the existence of my family for a few minutes (really, only a few – most of my brain was busy freaking out about whether I’d lost a whole days work or not).  Took the charger cord upstairs, rebooted, held my breath and opened the file.  Phew!  Everything was there all the way down to the last comma I’d typed before the screen went black.  Thank goodness for the frequent auto-save feature in Scrivener!

Resume typing, unreservedly recording the details of a whole segment of time that takes place five years previous to the beginning of my manuscript.  The Chapter heading for my days work is “Jack Flashbacks with no place yet”.  Mr. Aveline eventually comes up to bed, but I am not *quite* done with the thoughts in my head.  I unplug and continue typing as Mr. Aveline settles down beside me to sleep.  I was yawning and just wrapping up the end of the scene at 11:55 PM when once again my battery gave out and my laptop suddenly and with no warning went dead in my hands.  Shit!  Oh well, it is late, I am tired, and I was basically done anyhow.  I will not disturb Mr. Aveline to alleviate my anxiety, but instead put down the dead computer and go to sleep, secure in the knowledge that it was *totally* fine the first time it happened and so would likely be fine this time also.  Worst case scenario I maybe lose the last hour or so of work I put in to the 7,270 word count day I just put in.

So, 7 am, kids are up and preparing for school and I collect my laptop.  I Bring it downstairs and plug it in, boot it up and fire up Scrivener.  There is the file “Jack Flashbacks”.  Click on it and it comes up onto the screen and Is Totally Blank.  Not one single word there.  7,270 words – gone … disappeared … MIA.  Frantically searching for restore options, back-up copies, anything … sweating and desperate … and … *nothing*  My entire Sunday, gone with one low battery shut-down.  What about that life-saving Scrivener auto-save feature?  What about the stuff that was most definitely still there after the *first* shut down and restart?!  ALL OF IT?  SERIOUSLY?!  AGAIN?

This happened to me once before, and after a month and a half it somehow mysteriously restored when I duped a folder.  I tried that trick this morning.  Nadda.  Nothing.  *Banging head against the wall and trying really hard not to throw anything, break anything, scream or cry in frustration.* 

I started the rationalization thing … It’s okay, it wasn’t even technically part of the manuscript, just back story for me to cherry pick later.  At least now I have the foundations pretty solid in my head, if not on paper.  Yeah, but 7,270 words!  The whole manuscript is only about 28,000 words without the unplaced flashbacks, 35,000 with … that is a significant chunk of what I’ve produced!  Gone … but I am not crying.

No, really, I am not.  Because first thing I did when I got to work?  Open up my manuscript.  See, thing is, I store the files in my drop-box so that I always have the working copy available regardless of what computer I am on.  Turns out, the backed up copy had been updated in drop-box but my lap-top hadn’t synced yet this morning (or something … I am not really sure how that worked out).  Point is, yes, they disappeared and I freaked out pretty hard-core for a few hours, but then, like magic, they are back. 

Yes, I made a completely separate back-up project folder with today’s date appended to ensure that they do not disappear again.  I am thinking that from now on I will copy the working copy to the desktop and then move it back into drop-box once I have finished for the day.  Except, I’m not sure if that would have saved me the freak out this morning, or only meant that there would not have been a current version to restore from.  *shaking my head*  In any case … what a way to start a Monday Morning!

Yes, I know … back up early and often.  *Wry grin*


Jack and Jill Outline Done

I have been … slacking.  It’s been a strange year in my brain.

Tonight, however, I FINISHED the outline for the novel I have been less-than-diligently working on for the last many months.  I have first drafts of about half of the chapters complete, have made some semi-detailed revision notes along the way.  As of tonight I also have detailed draft notes for the still to be written chapters and some pretty good character notes. 

It isn’t much, but I am feeling pretty durned good about it at the moment. 

Feels like I’ve worked up a head of steam and am making some serious progress again.

We’ll see how that goes in the weeks ahead.

Found Words.

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

In Sept. I mentioned that I had lost somewhere around 2500 words from my manuscript.  I have tried several times since then to re-write that particular scene – the one that went missing. I just couldn’t get it to work, and with every successive attempt I got more discouraged and frustrated.  I had so little success, in fact, that this last weekend I actually decided that I would simply have to scrap the central idea behind that scene and do something entirely different.

I fired up Scrivener, installed a program update, and copied the last chapter folder I had worked on for the quick formatting.  When I renamed the folder and opened it up to delete the duplicated text – it wasn’t duplicated text at all, but somehow, my missing scene!

I don’t know.

I went back to the folder I had copied and read the text there.  It ended right before the missing scene.  I went back to the “new” folder and opened it up.  It didn’t have any of the text from the original folder, but instead had a document containing the previously missing scene.  I hastily copied and pasted it, then backed everything up!  Once that was finished, I read through the whole scene.  It is just like I remembered it, and the element that I have struggling with for the last month and a half works just fine.  I don’t know why I had so much trouble re-creating it!

I did flesh it out a bit, add to the end of it … and all of the discouragement and frustration that had been building up melted away.  Suddenly I am enthusiastic again about this couple, and happy to be immersed in their story instead of wanting to scream at the characters for tormenting me.

Dream writing

Well.  I am quite proud of myself at the moment, mostly because I paid attention to that course correction.

Step 1 – Recognize you have a problem.  Self sabotage  Check

Step 2 – Identify the signs when the problem is beginning to flare  Three days of composing in my head with no actual writing  Check

Step 3 – Take active steps to correct the problem Spend the time required to get the words out of  your head and onto the page  Took 2 days to catch up with the story telling in my head but … *proud of myself grin* … Check

Unfortunately I am not thrilled with the form of the words on the page, but the skeleton is there and I can edit and massage it into shape later.  At this point I am just relieved that I can press onward.  (Total word count on this project thus far – 23, 889)

After work yesterday I met up with my best friend.  We don’t see nearly enough of each other these days, so when we do manage to steal an hour or two they are always packed full with catching up, laughing, and usually alcohol.  *wry grin*  It was a work night so we restrained ourselves to a single drink and tons of talking.  Even-so, by the time I got home last night I was tired.  Since I had managed to finish my “catch up” writing earlier in the day I decided to just switch off for a while.

I read an ebook for a bit while hanging out on the couch with the family.  When I went to bed I put an audiobook on.  I like to be read to sleep, what?  🙂  I did forget to set the sleep timer on the player though, so I slept all night with someone else’s story being read in my ear.    Apparently my brain did not care.  I woke up dreaming about my story.  I wasn’t composing in my head on purpose, but I guess my characters were not done with me yesterday when I put them down.  So, I guess my Friday night will be spent attached to a keyboard, again.

I’m not complaining, though Mr. Aveline might be!

I was looking for an excerpt to share, just a little tease … but right now everything I particularly like is too heavily character or plot entwined to make a good teaser.   Here is something, anyhow.

Don’t Be Nice To Me

“You can’t do this.” Jill said, standing up straight and pressing her palms against Keith’s rippling chest, gently pushing him back.

“Do what?” He asked, confused as he took a half a step back.

“This,” she said, leaning against the wall and waving her hands vaguely between them. “You can’t be … nice … to me.” She sighed, her voice quiet and firm in spite of how shaky she felt inside and out.

He arched a single brow at her and cocked his head to the side as he peered down at her. “Be nice to you?”

She nodded and sighed, knowing that she wasn’t making a lot of sense. “Look, I don’t have much under cover experience, and frankly, I have never been particularly good at acting. I promise, I can keep all of the important stuff straight. I won’t forget who the good guys are or what our objectives are or that I am only pretending to crawl into a bottle … and you.” She blushed as she said this last, but she soldiered ahead. “I don’t know how to turn it all on and off on the turn of a dime though. If I am going to be convincing, not just in tableau’s like Preston just came across, but for the long haul …”

She sighed and bit her lip, looking up to meet Keith’s eyes with her own, dreading what she might see there. “I need to do as much of this for real as we can. I need you to be the selfish bastard who is willing to wine and dine me. Seduce me and distract me and make me forget that I am not supposed to feel like laughing. Of course watch my back, trust me to watch yours and find the bad guys. But don’t be nice to me. Don’t do,” Again she waved her hands between the two of them, “what you did for me yesterday in the hallway – what you just did for me here.” She could see his confusion and honestly did not know how to explain how fragile she was, how his kindness made her feel all of the things she needed to lock away and ignore. “It’s too real.” She tried. “Right now, I can’t deal with my own reality. I need to focus on the job. My stuff has to wait. Has to.”

Keith wanted to call a halt to the whole operation right then and there. His heart was breaking for the delicate, beautiful woman standing in front of him whose eyes were overflowing with her heart and her vulnerability even while she proved that there was steel in her spine.

He watched her gather her strength and transform right before his eyes. He watched the shutters and armor fall into place to insulate and protect her and he felt oddly bereft at being locked outside them. She still leaned against the wall and gazed up at him. Nothing changed in her posture or her expression, but he watched the vulnerability, the guilt and pain and grief drain away leaving in their wake a strong, capable, ruthless woman. He had no doubt that she would sacrifice whatever it took to get this job done. He thought it might very well be too much, or at least more than he was willing witness.

Happy Friday!