Halloween is a frightening time, and last night, while I was writing a Halloween short story, I was (un)fortunate enough to have a little scare. Alright, it was a big scare.
I had started writing the story during my lunch break yesterday, and then around 8:30 pm I started back up on it. I was enjoying where the story was going, while at the same time giving myself the creeps just a little bit. Then, about 9 pages (single spaced, might I add) into it, my computer so kindly showed me the spinning color wheel of death.
That’s OK. That’s fine. I can handle it. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, waiting for it to go away.
It didn’t go away.
I racked my brain, trying to figure out what on earth I could do to counter this new evil. There wasn’t much to do, to be honest, so I took a screenshot to save the half-page of words I could see on the screen, and then forced quit the program.
When I re-opened my document, my heart sank. There were plenty of words still there, but they were mixed in with…chaos. Here’s a small screenshot of what it looked like (shhh…spoilers!):
As you can see, my writing had been transformed into some unholy mutation. If it had at least been Wingdings, I can read that (I can), and things would have been fine. This…I was hooped.
What could I do? I tried everything the Internet suggested to restore my original document back to its perfect self. Nothing worked. Finally, after resigning to the fact that I was doomed, I went to work connecting the dots.
This was at 10:30 pm. That’s usually when I go to bed. I didn’t finish filling in the holes until midnight. I got the basic storyline back together, but I will have to go back and tighten up the writing. It was perfect the first time (ha ha, right?), but now…well, it’s still good. But it will take some revisions for sure to get it back to the class-act it used to be.
The moral of this story? I don’t know. I’ve never seen this happen before. If I were you, however, I would probably save four or five copies of your work in various places: desktop, external hard drive, thumb drive, zip drive, floppy disk, your cat’s matted fur, or any other place that is retrievable. Having to go back and essentially re-write what had taken me hours to come up with in the first place was a huge stumbling block for this story. I almost scrapped it entirely, but I knew I wanted to tell this story, and quitting never helped anyone.
So I will get back up on my horse, as they say, and finish what I started. Life is hard, apparently. It’s a good thing I’m just now learning this.