Amity Dawn and the Great Manuscript Disaster of 2014

So, recently, I decided to pick up Amity Dawn again. I hadn’t touched it in months, and most of that was conversion from first to third person. I had about 25k to 30k words, eight full chapters, written. Sure, it needed a lot of work, especially the post-conversion chapters, but the switch had to be made. It’s hard to tell a story with such a broad scope from a first person perspective. I felt like limiting the perspective and head-hopping from chapter to chapter wasn’t doing the message justice, so I made the switch. The writing is harder, but I think the story will benefit.

Anyway, as I was saying, I decided to work on Amity Dawn for the first time in months, so I went to open the Scrivener file–and it was gone. I hunted high and low; Google Drive, Dropbox, all of my flash drives, my external hard drive, anywhere it could have feasibly been saved, I checked. Nothing. First, there was panic, then tears, then rage, and finally… resignation. Amity Dawn was gone, all almost-30k of it. I deliberately use cloud storage so these things don’t happen, and in four years of doing so, I’ve never had this happen.  I suppose I was over due for a horrifying, gut wrenching, tear-inducing catastrophe. Well, now I’ve paid my dues for the next few years, and catastrophe had better rein itself in. I don’t have time for this shit.

Moving on! Regardless of my whirlwind of pain and tears, I still wanted to work on Amity Dawn. Kadri was calling  me, and I still had my outline, which, thankfully, had been printed and was stuffed in my Bag of Holding. So, I began again. It needs work. I have to include elements I had forgotten about and never made note of. I need to add depth and description and dialog, but the basics are all there. Everything I wanted to convey. Everything that needed running through. I’m just starting chapter three and my manuscript is about 6k so far.  I have a long way to go, but it’s something that has, despite the grief, given Amity Dawn new life. I can see it clearly and retain my drive.

More importantly, I’ve re-learned the “back up your work” lesson. Following in the wake of a few friends, I’ve taken to 750words.com to drive me to keep writing. That’s actually what this blog post is contributing to tonight. While it won’t reach the full 750, I plan to use the rest for chapter three of AD. It’s refreshing to have a daily goal, instead of floundering with no direction. Discipline is nice, and I like getting badges and achievements for doing stuff–it’s the gamer in me. Honestly, if you have trouble getting going, try 750words.com. The first month is free so you can get a taste of whether it’s right for you, and, after that, is only $5 a month. (I have to note that I’m not getting paid to say that, and I’m not getting any special treatment. I’m just finding that it’s really working for me, and, if it works for you, too, I want to help facilitate that.)

Moral of the Story: Get back on the horse. Don’t let setbacks get you down. Keep fighting, keep writing, and back up your goddamn work.

Have you ever lost a significant amount of work to an accident like this? How did you get past it?

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1 Comment

Filed under Writing

One response to “Amity Dawn and the Great Manuscript Disaster of 2014

  1. Heartbreaking! I lost 60,000 words of my first novel for about 3 days. The computer wiped everything. It was later that I found a version saved on an external drive. Three very painful days later.

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