Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and warm – but the birds are singing!

Quill pens and parchment : Just sayin’.

Carrier pigeons to deliver manuscripts.

Much less frustrating.

Thanks so much for all the suggestions and the support yesterday. They really helped. Well, the one person who emailed me and said this was a good time to practice detachment – let’s say I was less gracious than I should have been! Because I am not detached from my work, especially not in the creation stage. I don’t think artists should be or can be.

I did everything I could without screwing up someone else’s computer – I would have been a lot more adventurous on my own. Heck, I probably would have hacked it apart with an axe looking for the thing, but one must be more restrained with someone else’s property.

It never ceases to amaze me – astrobiology and physics and all of that make perfect sense, but a computer – not so much. Because, frankly, whenever I do delve into the workings, I don’t find it based on a logic that makes any sense to me, where even chaos in the universe has a decent logic. I find computer “stuff” is created by people with too much time on their hands who take joy in making it as difficult and inefficient as possible. But then, my brain is wired differently, and things that other people believe have no sense or logic are absolutely transparent to me. It’s all in the perception.

So I started re-creating the piece. I still have my notes – thank goodness those didn’t go, even though that file was open. I’d updated them as changes happened, for the most part, and I’d even emailed them to myself. In fact, when I lost the document, that’s what the save was for – saved so then I could back it up and email it to myself. It was the ONLY document on the whole drive not yet sent to my backup account, and the ONLY document not printed – which is why, of course, it failed. Five more minutes, and there wouldn’t have been a problem. And it doesn’t make sense – when Word fails, it always saves something with a ~ so you can restore the document. Nothing. And it usually only dumps the version you’re working on, not every version previously saved. If I’d lost those 30 pages, I’d have been sad, but could have immediately recreated them. To lose 98 pages – when the Script Frenzy count is 100 – very frustrating. I searched every drive, checked every file to see what it mutated into – it’s as though the file never existed. Talked to several computer-savvy friends and spent an hour on the phone with a tech guy I actually trust. They agreed this can’t happen – it has to be in there somewhere.

Maybe the guys who own the computer can find it. I asked them to look and then email it to me if it turned up.

And Yasmine let me have a good cyber-weep on her shoulder. Thank you very much. It’s deeply appreciated.

So I’m going back to my extreme state of computer paranoia.

Dealing with computers makes me think of the Nine of Wands in the tarot – you’ve always got to be ready and keep those defenses up, no matter how much work you’ve put in to date.

Feeling sorry for myself wasn’t going to solve anything. I’d done everything I could physically do in terms of data recovery (or, in my case, non-data recovery). It was time to buckle down and get back to work.

In any case, I recreated the first 11 pages. Some of it’s better, like the opening sequence, because now I know Jack Danou’s coming back as ghost, and he’s not just some guy that Zenda has to kill because he and his men were hired to slaughter a village. Some of the scenes are stronger, because having written so far into it, I actually know who these characters are, and I can set them up. Some of the scenes, like the breakup scene between Carole and Sam are weaker. But hey, it’s technically draft 1 ½ , so whatever. As the character Sam said to me (the writer), “Look, it’s not as though we haven’t been around for six years or something. It’s been a couple of hours. Just drop back in and listen to us.”

I also have an idea of a technique I learned for another area of my life, and I’m wondering if I can apply it here. I don’t want to discuss it too much ahead of time, but it would be awfully intriguing if it works.

I was on the 7 PM bus out of Philly. What a horrid group of nut jobs traveled! Really, half of them should have been put off the bus – truly energy-sucking vampires and disruptive to everyone else. I just cocooned myself in my music, set up the psychic barriers (which one of the nut jobs could actually see and commented on – but he couldn’t pass it), and stayed in the world of Sharon Shinn’s THE THIRTEENTH HOUSE for the trip.

Trundled across town from Port Authority to Grand Central with my luggage, mowing down tourists and climbing over something or other that filmed near Bryant Park. Don’t know what it was, but the Craft Services guy remembered me from . . .something . . .and pressed a much-needed cup of coffee into my hand for the rest of my trip home.

Got home around 10:30, couldn’t sleep, was up unpacking and puttering far too late. Elsa and Iris were glad to see me; Violet was furious with me for leaving in the first place and wouldn’t even look at me. However, this morning, she is Velcro Kitty.

I’m going to write this morning and then I have to pack this afternoon and get another load of stuff to storage.

This time next week, the Window Tango should be complete and maybe we’ll have a little bit of peace before the scumbags come up with their next element of torture.

I’m going to combine the next trip to Maine to check on my grandmother with some serious house hunting.

Does anyone know where I can purchase binders in bulk? I keep my manuscripts in binders, and it’s ridiculously expensive. Staples just looks at me like I’ve grown extra heads when I ask about bulk binder purchase. So I need to find some other, more reasonably priced outlet. Novellas usually go in 1” or 11/2” binders, but I usually need 2 ½-3” binders for novel-length.

Because let’s face it, I’m going to print out EVERYTHING after this latest fiasco. I know, I know: Tree Murderer!

At least I’m using recycled paper, and I recycle every scrap of paper I toss.

Got a disappointing rejection this morning for a piece I was sure was a good fit for that particular venue. Guess I was wrong. So off it goes to the next one on the list.


Devon’s Bookstore:

5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.

Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on April 9, 2008 at 10:26 am  Comments (10)  


  1. Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry this happened, Devon. I’ve had things disappear, too, articles for people that I’d revised again and again, and then poof! Gone. It’s so bizarre how it all works.

    Anymore, I just print out everything almost immediately. I just don’t trust technology that much.

  2. Somehow, I can’t imagine whoever told you to practice detachment is a writer. I’d be having seven kinds of fits in your place. I think any writer would.

    Re the binders, Staples’ website gives a bit of a discount for ordering more than a certain number. It’s not a big discount, though. Quill doesn’t have a discount, per se, but they do have cheap prices.

  3. when Word fails, it always saves something with a ~ so you can restore the document.

    Yes, this is true. But it depends on the settings of the Word program. And if you were on someone else’s then they could have the auto-recovery set to every 10 minutes (default) or longer or whatever. I have mine set to every 3 minutes for auto-backup because I’m paranoid. 🙂

    And regarding the binders – I think you can order them online in bulk from any major office supply store.

  4. It sounds as though your new draft will be stronger and even better, so there’s that. I don’t know why that person would encourage detachment. That’s absurd. That was your creation, you gave it life, there is NO detachment from that.

    Glad you arrived home safely. Have a good day!

  5. Well I’m glad you landed on your feet afterall. It would ge great if it hadn’t happened at all but the bit of silver is recreating some of the story stronger than before. I too keep my manuscripts in binders. How about ordering them in bulk through an online office supply? d:)

  6. Well I’m glad you landed on your feet afterall. It would be great if it hadn’t happened at all but the bit of silver is recreating some of the story stronger than before. I too keep my manuscripts in binders. And I second the comment above about ordering in bulk from an online store. That should be a no-brainer for office supply places. d:)

  7. Glad you’re on an upper today, but what horror you had to go through. Fingers crossed it can still be restored.

    Didn’t I read somewhere about T.E. Lawrence losing an entire manuscript when he left it on a train? And that he re-wrote the whole thing from memory into another, much better draft?

    Probably doesn’t make you feel any better but there might be something you can take from it.

  8. I’m so sorry you lost the manuscript — how frustrating! Maybe the coming manuscript will be just as other posters have said here — better and stronger, so it may turn out to be like that “blessing in disguise” cliche. Though I sure wouldn’t have wanted someone to say THAT to me five minutes after I’d lost the darned thing in the computer! 🙂

  9. How awful to lose your manuscript like that. I don’t blame you for wanting to hack into the computer (and/or into the person who suggested detachment) with an axe!

    Sorry, too, about the rejection. No matter how much experience you have they still sting, don’t they? But I’m sure your piece will find another home that will work out even better.

    Take care!


  10. Well, there’s no great loss without some small gain…it sounds like you’ll have a stronger ms the second time around! That’s good news!

    Sorry about the rejection. Sometimes, they make ZERO sense.

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