A few years ago (longer than I care to admit), I began writing a novel. When I think about the earliest pages of that novel, I blush with embarrassment at how terrible it was. And yet I was so proud of it. At the time I thought it was really, really good. You know those novelists who think they have no need of an editor? That their work is ready for print the second they type the words? Yeah. Silly, silly novelists.
Anyway, while the initial beginning draft of my novel needed a lot of work, my characters must be pretty interesting, because I have had people who knew me back then (over six years ago) ask me about Kate and Sam. Not “Oh, how’s your novel coming?” but, “Have you written any more of Kate and Sam’s story?”
And then there’s Mr. Petrosian, the Armenian grocer that my husband adores. Somewhere along the way, he misunderstood something and thought I was going to get rid of Mr. Petrosian. Any time the subject of my novel comes up, my guy starts campaigning for Mr. Petrosian’s continued existence. I have to reassure him emphatically that Mr. Petrosian will not be going anywhere.
In October 2015, I tackled revising what I’d written, because I wanted to resolve some glaring issues with point of view before moving forward. I’d finished cleaning out my mom’s house after she died, and I needed a distraction before my sister and I began the renovation work needed to sell the house. I rented a friend’s beach house for four days and revised like crazy, wrapping up the weekend with 20,000 good words. And then I didn’t touch it again because life got in the way. I would tell myself that it took Margaret Mitchell ten years to write Gone With the Wind, so I still had a couple of years left to complete my masterpiece.
This past summer, my laptop died. Didn’t just crash. Completely died. I had them remove the hard drive because it was fine, and there was hope that I could have the data moved to my new computer. I got busy, we went on vacation, then there was Hurricane Harvey and the summer flooding.
I can’t find the hard drive.
I have no idea what happened to it. I thought for sure I would find it in the middle of our room shuffle/painting project. I don’t have a clue where it is.
I jus spent about ninety minutes seeing if I could find the 20,000 good words off the external hard drive I used as a backup.
A few odds and ends, but nothing of substance.
I have a binder full of marked up chapters from when I participated in the critique group. Unfortunately, the marked up chapters are the crap that I revised that four day weekend in October.
I was able to find a few of the revised segments I copied and pasted in a chat window to share with my friend. I located a snippet in an email.
I guess all there is to do is to try, try again. Kate, Sam, and Mr. Petrosian are still there, still wanting their story told. Who am I to tell them “no”?
I had some flash drives lying in a dish and thought “I just wonder….”
AND THE MISSING 26,066 WORDS WERE FOUND. And the angels sang…