A Dramatic Finish

Saturday morning I rolled out of bed, fired up the laptop, and edited the last 27 pages of my manuscript. My friends on Facebook congratulated me, I danced a little jig, then I went through the document to check that my chapter numbers were in order.

And that, apparently, was the straw that broke the PC’s back.

About 100 pages in I got an error that my firewall wasn’t on so I did what I always do and click to turn it on. (I get this a lot. I check, it’s always on.) Then I tried to save.

No go.

Another fun game my PC likes to play is after about half an hour it no longer allows me to save. My solution is I add the date to the end of the file, then toggle between the master file and that version while I continue to work. This, in theory, gives me two current versions. (I’ve learned over the weekend that this is not a ‘normal’ PC thing. As a Mac person, I just assumed this was just another joy of Windows.)

So on Saturday I tried saving the document with a different name, but that didn’t work either. And that’s when I noticed that the file with that day’s date was gone. Vanished. Poof.

As was the master file.

I tried saving it to the previous day’s version and in an instant that file disappeared as well. I continued to get warnings from my anti-virus software, and it kept insisting my files were corrupt and I had to restart. Not knowing what else to do, I restarted.

While it restarted I rushed to my desktop computer, which is linked to the same backup system, and the files had already been deleted from there as well.

Three days of work — 80 pages — were gone.

Thankfully my genius writing friends (I believe it was Adam) pointed out that Dropbox has a Restore feature that rescues deleted files. And he was right. I was able to recover all the deleted files and ended up losing 17 pages of work instead of 80. Since I’d JUST made those changes they were still fresh in my mind and I was able to redo them in half an hour.

Before I had Dropbox I emailed myself a copy of my manuscript at the end of every writing or editing session, but I’ve fallen out of that habit. Had I done that Friday night I would have had an unaffected version safe in my email.

The moral of the story: BACKUP!

Do you have a computer-related horror story you’d like to share?

(and if you sign up for Dropbox via the above link I get bonus storage space!)

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


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  3. Now I think you can add “horror writer” to your resume. Just reading this gave me the shivers!!

    I haven’t had too many issues like this.. but then, I use a Mac. 😉 Virus scan? Whats that?

    Glad you were able to retrieve most of your work. Whew! (Yay Adam!)

  4. Eeeeek! Glad you only lost a little instead of a lot. My hubby’s a tech, so I hear the gospel of backup often, LOL. But I did sneak onto the computer to check my email as a thunderstorm rolled in. A lightning strike killed my beloved, bright blue eMachine. *sob* It’s been 9 years, I still grieve. 😉

  5. ab

    Yeah… I have that tale…. lesson learned. I try to remember to add updates to my flash drive daily. I have one at work & one at home. It usually takes a story like that to kick you into doing it on a regular basis. Glad you had dropbox to save you. I don’t use that. Maybe I should.

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