Last week I told you how I had finally reached the end of my current novel on Monday. The initial editing process involved looking at the penultimate chapter (Chapter 27) as there were a few things I wasn't happy with. I decided part of this chapter would be better somewhere in the final chapter, so on Wednesday evening I copied and pasted this part into a new document, and saved it, ready to be inserted into the chapter when I decided just where was the best place for it.
On Thursday evening, I looked again at the final chapter. Opened up the Chapter 28 file - but all it contained was the section I’d copied and pasted the previous evening.
First reaction – bewilderment. Where was my original Chapter 28? I’d sweated blood over that chapter! Where was it??
I proceeded to search high and low. First for ‘Chapter 28’. Nil. Nada (apart from the copied and pasted section). Panic set in. Had I lost the chapter? Would I have to rewrite it? Big groan.
Remembering phrases I’d used that I thought might be unique to Chapter 28, I typed them into the search box: new conservatory, grandfather clock, Edwardian Afternoon Tea. Nope. Nothing came up.
Where on earth was that last chapter? It had to be somewhere on my computer, or on Dropbox (where I save all my docs – religiously!)
After an hour of searching, I was ready to scream (or cry). I knew the last section of the last chapter was a good one, but could I remember it all to rewrite it?
Now depression set in. This novel has been hard enough to write in the first place, the final chapter took me over a week to write, so this seemed to be the most unjust cut of all!
I vented on Facebook (and thanks for your input there, Jen!). Another FB friend directed me to Microsoft Support and ‘How to Recover a Deleted Document’. I knew I hadn’t deleted the original Chapter 28, but I had a look anyway.
After ploughing through various options (none of which worked in recovering my Chapter 28), I found one which said something about recovering ‘previous versions’. Now you may already know all about this facility, but it was new to me. So I explored this option and found a ‘previous version’ of Chapter 28 dated November 24th, the night I knew I had finished the chapter.
Clicked it, and YES! It was the original chapter!
I can’t even begin to describe my relief on recovering this file. If I had been ready to cry with despair at losing the chapter, I was even more ready to cry with relief on finding it again. From the 90+ comments on my FB status about losing and then finding the file, it seems all writers can relate to this!
Eventually, I worked out just what had happened.
When I saved the part of Chapter 27 that I’d decided to use in Chapter 28, I intended to save the file where I pasted it as Chapter 28A. But I forgot the ‘A’. So when I saved that document, it took the place of the original Chapter 28.
It wasn’t a back-up problem as several commenters on FB assumed, it was a file-naming problem. You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll check and double check file names in future!
Have you ever had that panic over losing a file? It really is a devastating experience, when you think you’re going to have to rewrite something that you’ve already worked so hard on.
In this case, I had a happy ending –and learnt that a file can be found somehow, if you know where to look!