I've been panicking this week. You see, about a year ago I was working on a fairly hefty (for me anyway) novel and I was about 13 chapters through it. It was coming along really well; something I could be proud of. Then NaNo got in the way and I shelved it while I produced something else.
What I should have done was just cheat on NaNo and continue with the work in hand, but I didn't. I'm not saying I didn't produce something good from Nano - far from it. In fact I'm seriously considering giving that a good edit (now it's a long way behind me and I can look at it with new eyes) and publishing it through LuLu.
But I shelved the thing I was proud of. Bad girl! Because this week, when I finally thought I wouldn't mind having another go at the WIP, I couldn't find it.
I'll pause a while for the other writers out there to take that in.
Thirteen chapters. About 21,000 words as far as I can remember. Missing. I was convinced that I'd saved multiple copies of it: at home on my laptop; at work on my personal drive on my PC; on at least two thumb sticks. Apparently not.
I couldn't even find the notebook that I'd carefully planned the story in. Planned? Me? Yes! That's what makes this work so special. I'm normally a seat-of-the-pants kind of writer and this is a HUGE thing for me. I know from the start what the story's about.
Well, I've turned the house over trying to recover anything of the story and first of all I found the notes. That's a start, but I didn't relish the prospect of rewriting the whole thing. I know there was some pretty good prose among the verbiage.
I have managed to rescue some chapters - quite a chunk, actually - but I know there are still gaps. I hope to be able to track down the missing pieces as I continue to search through the probably several million words I have turned out in the last couple of years. (I write professionally remember - I turn out a lot of words!)
The panic has subsided a little. I know I can recover the project with some effort. And there are now several copies of what I have found. But it's going to be tough.