It’s been quite some time since I wrote one of my tongue-in-cheek Glitcherella posts about my misadventures with technology. So why am I suddenly compelled to revisit my misfortunate alter ego in the middle of the night? Because I just had a severely frustrating experience that’s part my fault, part technology’s fault, and part inexplicable.

I have a science fiction novel series that’s my favorite thing to write. Queries have had nice comments. Several stories taken from it and tweaked to stand alone have earned Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest and gained attention from editors most writers only dream of attracting. Whatever wonderful reactions it may have accumulated, to date it follows my most typical personal trend of close but no cigar syndrome. This in no way deters me from loving it to the point that I’ve completed the first two 100,000+ word novels and continue to try to find the door it needs to go through. The third novel in this tenacious series is at this point something I write for fun, in between other projects that I also love, just not quite as much.
There’s real value in a novel-in-progress into a series far enough that it can’t be marketed by itself. If it’s well loved enough by its author, it can become the go to source of joy that’s written purely for fun. There’s no stress over whether it’s going to be a door opener once it’s finished. That responsibility lies with the first novel. That’s the calling card for the series. Any that come after the first call for a different kind of writing. The rare kind that truly comes from pure abandon. The responsibility lies in the quest to make the narrative part of the cohesive whole that stretches for however many novels the series demands. The objective is to further the plots and characters and their journeys in a way that connects all the way back throughout the hundreds of thousands of words that came before. And watch it come together like a tapestry and make sure all the threads hold.

So, novel number three is my go to writing place, when I want or even need a bit of writing to please just myself. A bad day, a rough patch, or even simply a bit of burnout from whatever project is putting on too much pressure…those can all send me to that particular set of characters that I know without doubt will make me happy just by writing them.

I’ve been concentrating on short stories for some time. I shift around among those, novels, screenplays, and poems. Sometimes to keep things fresh, sometimes simply by mood. Tonight I had a sudden urge to dip into my writing happiest place, instead of my current short story that is bound and determined to thwart my word count economy attempts by becoming yet another novella. I could not find the latest file among the computer version of a mountain piled high with files bearing similar names.

After much struggle during which I was overtaken by my pesky Glitcherella side, I found my file snuggled tightly among its cousins deep in the bowels of my old desktop I should know better than to use. Ever. But I was so happy to find it that instead of transferring it immediately to my laptop where it had some chance of surviving intact, I sat right where I was to write.

Open file.

Close it briefly.

Click to reopen.

Wha–?

Newly opened, with a couple of pages missing!

Futile searching.

Stare at screen, as if I can will it back.

Give up and start where the disappeared bit left things.

Accomplish several hundred words.

So happy.

Must save to flash drive.

Click–

Every single word I just wrote disappears in a flash of singed gray matter!

How I have no clue.

Simply gone, as if that decrepit old computer became ravenous and ate my happy-making words, like so many irresistible gourmet chocolates. Yes, I do tend to anthropomorphize computers, especially when they commit inexplicable atrocities against my fiction.

So, thanks to a Glitcherella episode, I had to rewrite a lost chunk and now I’ll have to rewrite the rewrite. Of course it can be done, but it won’t be fun like the first two times around. The whole point of having something to always remind me how much I love writing is the spontaneity aspect. That becomes impossible when the spontaneity gets sucked out by a computer that needs to be put out of my misery and by the fateful moment when Glitcherella writes.

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