Yesterday, I cheerfully set out from work, having spent about three hours completely annotating the foreword to HoMe1 with my personal thoughts, notes, and summaries. I got home, plugged in my USB key, and....
In a half-hour?
The HoMe notes are gone. The three chapters of the AMC prequel that I wrote at the lake and hadn't yet backed up...gone. My supercool Access writing database...gone too. (Also not backed up because I was still tinkering with it. Access is good for tinkering.)
Now deep down in my logical heart of hearts (that is astounded at the number of cliches that I used in that phrase and wonders if my brain corrupted along with the USB drive), I know that Fëanor really doesn't have anything to do with it. He's not real! He's a character in a book! That he once deleted a chapter from his PoV that I was working on; that the chapter turned out to be mostly lies that I had to completely rewrite; that part of AMC got eaten when my last USB drive failed; that now the new novel about him gets chewed up (though two chapters from Nerdanel's PoV were just fine)...I know that this is a coincidence. Yesterday, I was angsting that whenever I write a story about Fëanor, I suffer some sort of odd data loss. Then I realized that since I started writing fanfic, I've spent no more than a few months not writing about Fëanor, so simple probability would make this so. Still, I wonder if this particular incident was belated revenge for slashing him in By the Light of Roses because I really liked the chapters I'd written from his PoV for the AMC prequel.
Still, being a dumb optimist, I spent last evening grumbling and then thought about the good things that come from having a USB drive corrupt. For one, the whole thing didn't corrupt. Granted, most of the stuff that I needed corrupted, but that's not the point.
- For one, there were some organizational problems with the prequel. As I was explaining to Bobby, I am good at revising "micro" issues in my stories--things at the word, sentence, even paragraph level--but "macro" problems at the level of the chapter or story as a whole...not so good. I see what needs to be done but simply lack the ability to do it. That's why poor "Cold Hands" has been "in revision" for the better part of a year now, because I have to reorganize the first half-page or so. Anyway, now I can fix the organizational problems. When I rewrite the chapters.
- In reading and taking notes on the HoMe1 foreword for a third and second time, respectively, I'll know it that much better! Which should make for a more helpful summary, hopefully.
- "Akliya," which I had copyedited last week and revised a bit, was not corrupted. Quickly, I saved it to the network at work before it changed its mind. But I really was not looking forward to revising/copyediting that story again, so I was glad that that was saved.
- Fëanor's past antics have taught me the value of backing up and backing up some more. So beside those items I mentioned--finished during the last week--I didn't lose anything else.
So next week, I'll set out to write again the chapters of my prequel. I'm already halfway done the HoMe notes. Again.
By the way, my USB key was called "Fingolfin." I've already decided that the new USB key will be called "Arafinwë." Silly me, guess I didn't notice the Dark Lord that had snuck into my purse and hacked "Fingolfin" down with a big hammer called Grond....