The One About Starting Over from Scratch

It’s been an interesting few weeks, which means I’m behind on entries in the blog, on writing, on all sorts of things. I’ve been playing catch up for quite some time.

I’ve been traveling a lot – twice in April to Hollywood, in fact, to visit with some writer friends, as well as attend some events that were special for me. I’ll discuss those in detail some other time. But during one of those April trips, something unforeseen occurred.

And isn’t that a curious term – unforeseen – I mean, it it had been foreseen, we would have avoided it and thus it would never have occurred, and then never have been able to have been foreseen…

Anyway, one of the unfortunate side effects in preparing to travel was that I went to backup the most recent version of the my current manuscript from my PC to the online writing service I use. However, somehow, perhaps through legerdemain or poor hand-eye coordination, I somehow instead managed to delete the current version of the manuscript and overwrite it with a four month old version I’d abandoned.

This mistake cost me about 70,000 words worth of work – about two-thirds of the novel. Additionally, I also had lost all of my research notes on characters, plot, outline, etc., accumulated in the last four months. Gone, disappeared, kaput.

And I was blissfully unaware I’d done this. I wouldn’t figure it out until four days later, when I sat down a my laptop in the Magic Castle Hotel on Franklin Ave. in Hollywood overlooking the courtyard pool.

Still remember the moment. It was 11 p.m., It was cool, fog was rolling in over the hills off the Pacific, the steady hum of traffic on Franklin whirring by. The reflected turquoise light of the central court swimming pool, while my suite sat in the corner with a great view. I powered up the laptop, opened up Scrivener and clicked open the file.

And a different novel’s opening sentence greeted me.

Oh, I recognized it. It just didn’t belong there. And I started to determine how bad it was.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought. It was worse.

When I figured it out, I wanted to throw myself off my balcony. But, staying in a room where the balcony was only nine feet off the ground, that would have been both futile and embarrassing.

What that incident in April has forced me to do is rebuild the outline, rewriting almost every scene – I only had about 25,000 words I could use from the earlier version. In some ways it’s been good. Some things I had been struggling with came into clearer focus. The novel is mapped out, and it is almost completely written.

We’re back on track now. I have now, finally, caught up to where I was just before the accident happened, A few more scenes and the first draft will be finished, and then we start the polish.

More to come soon, I hope.

About D. G. Speirs

D.G. Speirs is a storyteller, novelist and voice actor living in Florida. He keeps searching for better stories to tell, even if he has to make them up himself. His latest novel, THE AGENCY, is now available on
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