Author Topic: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.  (Read 941 times)  

Offline RRodriguez

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 420
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • The Pixie Chronicles
Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
« on: July 19, 2017, 09:00:50 am »
So, I lost a very important scene last night due to a corrupted file. I generally have about 3 backups, but unfortunately my flash drive got corrupted before I had a chance to save it anywhere else. It's a long story, I know now I should have at least emailed it to myself or printed the damn thing out or *something*, but I had a long night trying to get it back and failing miserably, so I'm trying to move past it.

I'm coming to terms with the fact I'll just have to re-write the whole thing. I'm not writing anything today because I'm still so angry I might just punch my fist through the screen, but I'm trying to clear my head. The thing is, the scene I lost was the climax to the whole novel. I've been avoiding it for months because it was so difficult and I really needed to build myself up to it. When I started writing it, I got myself into a groove, and the words just started to work. I felt strangely proud of it, excited even, because I had finally tackled it and it didn't suck  half as bad as I thought it would. It was, dare I say, readable?

Now I'm afraid I'll never be able to replicate that. That anything I try to write now is going to sound rushed and jumbled, and I'll have completely screwed over this entire novel I've been working so long on. Am I being dramatic? Probably. I can't help it. This is my first novel, and I was SO CLOSE to being done. I just need a little boost. Tell me I'm not doomed to a lackluster ending, that all is not lost.


KBoards.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline Ross Harrison

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 357
    • Gender: Male
    • Derry
    • Author of Sci-Fi, Thrillers, and Steampunk
      • View Profile
      • Nexuseses
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #1 on: July 19, 2017, 09:14:15 am »
    I lost about 30,000 words of the book I was working on thanks to a corruption that followed the file form the computer onto it's floppy disk. I only have a few pages of an older version because I'd been sending it to my granddad, who'd been printing it out! I didn't touch it for years, and then when I came back to rewrite it, it turned into my thriller, which was far better than anything the original was going to be. Plus, I still have it to work from because the thriller turned out to be nothing at all like it.

    Maybe it's not the same though...

    Ross Harrison | ross-harrison.com | Twitter

    Offline Cactus Lady

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1698
    • Gender: Female
    • Arizona
      • View Profile
      • Welcome To My Worlds
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 09:15:59 am »
    It happens. I agree, it's no fun. Take a deep breath, then spend a few minutes outlining the scene as best as you remember it, so that when you do feel up to writing it again, you won't feel like you're starting over from nothing.
    Tales of Fantasy, Heroism, and Romance
    Genres: Epic Romantic Fantasy, Fantasy-western
    http://www.kyrahalland.com

    Offline gonedark

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 106
    • gonedark
      • View Profile
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #3 on: July 19, 2017, 09:19:59 am »
    Content removed due to TOS Change of 2018. I do not agree to the terms.
    « Last Edit: September 21, 2018, 10:30:19 pm by gonedark »

    Offline

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1838
    • Unsubscribed
      • View Profile
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 09:20:54 am »
    Way back in days of yore, back when I was in high school, back when books were still on paper, a group of classmates and I had a group project involving a debate topic.  We had to present one view and another group did the opposing view.  So there we are in a private little room in the library, gathered around a table, discussing the arguments that we would make and how to best argue the point and all that.  It was a challenge.  We had perhaps the more challenging position to argue as it ran counter to the conventional position which was the way things had been done for years and years and years and still, to this day, are done the same way.  So, it would be an uphill battle to "win" our debate.

    At some point in our meeting, the solution came to me.  I uttered this argument as everyone listened intently and, if I might add, in awe.  (I don't have too many of those moments so I remember them well.  I think they number in the ones.)  Everyone agreed the argument was brilliant.  That's not me bragging; that was the consensus.

    Unfortunately, once I voiced my argument, I almost completely forgot the whole thing.  Likewise, no one else wrote it down quick enough and no one else remembered the whole thing.

    So, we had to recreate this whole argument and we never managed to fully articulate it as brilliantly as those fleeting words no one remembers.

    Now for the lessons learned which may give you hope . . .

    First of all, years of experience has taught me that no one gives a flying bologna what happened to you in high school, so pretend this happened last week in a meeting with some very important people doing some very important things.

    Second of all, I am reasonably sure that our recreated effort still got an "A".  Um, I mean we cured some disease or something because this was last week, not high school.  Um, yeah.

    So, hope is not lost!

    Offline PermaStudent

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 707
    • Gender: Female
    • Be so good they can't ignore you. --Steve Martin
      • View Profile
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #5 on: July 19, 2017, 10:09:33 am »
    Ugh.  I've been there, to the tune of tens of thousands of words lost (before I perfected my backup process).  I'm sorry you're going through this.

    Don't lose hope.  Whatever you recreate will be just as brilliant, and it isn't worth it to avoid it.  I avoided mine for literally years, and when I think of all the time I wasted sulking, that's the real loss.  Write that scene, put it behind you, and move forward stronger than before! 
      I write urban fantasy.  There are girls in gowns and glowy hands on my covers.

    Offline Julie W

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 138
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
      • Official Website
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #6 on: July 19, 2017, 10:26:16 am »
    I've had this happen to me. I use to be really bad at having backups. It's very frustrating indeed. I've always had to take a break for a day or so just due to feeling defeating. I've found though that normally I am happier with the new version, so have hope.  It'll come back to you!!

    Julie Wenzel | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

    Offline German_Translator

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 274
    • Gender: Male
    • Austin, TX
    • Translating SF / Fantasy, English <--> German
      • View Profile
      • Frank Dietz Translations
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 10:36:33 am »
    Quote
    So, I lost a very important scene last night due to a corrupted file.

    You did not mention which program or operating system you are using, but have you tried file recovery utilities?
    Here is an article about them:
    http://windowsreport.com/repair-corrupted-files-windows-10/


    Just a few of the books I have translated (English <-> German)

    Offline RRodriguez

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 420
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
      • The Pixie Chronicles
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 10:44:12 am »
    You did not mention which program or operating system you are using, but have you tried file recovery utilities?
    Here is an article about them:
    http://windowsreport.com/repair-corrupted-files-windows-10/

    Thank you, I will absolutely have my husband help me look into this tonight.

    And thanks everyone else for your words of comfort. Today has been tough and I've spent most of it printing out hard copies of all of my current drafts. It's a lot of paper, but at the moment it's the only thing that's keeping me feeling safe from losing my work due to some technological glitch I have zero control over. I may start printing out my daily words as well and simply adding it to the drafts for added backups. I always thought I was so careful by keeping so many backups, this was such a simple oversight I wish I had thought of sooner.


    Offline Decon

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 5006
      • View Profile
      • Declan Conner, Blog
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 10:50:33 am »
    This is a timely post.

    I feel for you. I was on a roll with three WIP and my computer had a malware virus that  changed the file names so they couldn't be opened without a key. They didn't send a blackmail letter for me to open them for a fee. My backups were out of date. I lost 18,000 words of one and a chapter or so each on two others which were both a third of the way in (around 30,000 words each).

    I've written a new book since as I just couldn't face re writing any of them. Like you, once I write something and I'm happy with it, anything else would be a let down to have to try and replicate which is hard to explain to others.

    I don't know what to advise as it's taken me 12 months to make a start again on just one of them.  I started yesterday and wrote three quarters of a missing chapter. What got me going was to read what I had done over again a few times to re-motivate me. It really is a labor which it shouldn't be, but I'm sure once that chapter is done it'll be all onward and upward.

    It helped that I found an old scribbled chapter plan. If I wouldn't have found that, I think all would have remained abandoned. I was pantsing the other two and I intend to write out a plan for those two to see if I can get going on those also. They were all 2nd in series.

    In your case I'd write out a single chapter plan for the scene, setting out what you hope to achieve. The words should flow from that, even if they aren't the same ones.

    It's hard to explain to others the psychological block that comes from such an event, but don't wait 12 months like me. Head down and grind on.
    « Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 11:16:38 am by Decon »


    Scorpion ebooks: Full length  thrillers with a sting in the tale. All enrolled in KU & Prime.
    Declan Conner | blog

    Offline daveconifer

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3087
    • Gender: Male
    • Atlantic City
      • View Profile
      • DaveConifer.com
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 12:45:20 pm »
    Thank you, I will absolutely have my husband help me look into this tonight.

    And thanks everyone else for your words of comfort. Today has been tough and I've spent most of it printing out hard copies of all of my current drafts. It's a lot of paper, but at the moment it's the only thing that's keeping me feeling safe from losing my work due to some technological glitch I have zero control over. I may start printing out my daily words as well and simply adding it to the drafts for added backups. I always thought I was so careful by keeping so many backups, this was such a simple oversight I wish I had thought of sooner.

    Every time this has happened to me, I had the same feeling.  But each time, after re-writing the lost passages, I always felt like I nailed it even better than the first time.  I'm sure the same will happen for you.  The worst is over, the worrying part...

    Offline SarahCarter

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 426
    • Gender: Female
    • London, UK
    • Fantasy and YA author
      • View Profile
      • Sarah Carter
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 01:31:33 pm »
    Ouch! That sucks :( Good luck rewriting! Just try to ignore any voice that tells you you did it much better the first time round, because you don't know that for sure and it's probably just insecurity talking. Try not to compare the new stuff to something that doesn't even exist anymore, cos it'll just drive you mad.


    Offline EmmaS

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 328
    • Pacific Northwest
      • View Profile
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 02:03:45 pm »
    Ouch. :( I'm so sorry.

    As a few other people have said, I've been through that and my scene has always been better the second time. That's your silver lining. But you still have all my sympathy.

    Offline Gone 9/21/18

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3897
      • View Profile
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 02:19:15 pm »
    You have all my sympathy too. My own experience was losing 10,000 words due to absolutely my own carelessness. It put me off working on that book for years.

    P.S. Since it's one scene, would it help to pretend it's still there and done, skip over it, finish your book, and then with the rest of the work completed as incentive, go back and rewrite the missing scene?
    « Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 02:21:07 pm by ellenoc »
    I did not and will not consent to VerticalScope's TOS.

    Offline Kal241

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 770
    • Gender: Male
    • Things are never what they seem
      • View Profile
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #14 on: July 19, 2017, 02:48:14 pm »
    I actually lost several good stories due to a virus that led to a hard drive purge. If it's worth writing once, it's worth writing again.

    An artist and a writer combined into one being. When you work with Kal, you get a 2-4-1 deal!  

    Check out my artistry at: http://kal241.deviantart.com/
    Writing samples of mine will be made available upon request.

    Offline RRodriguez

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 420
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
      • The Pixie Chronicles
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #15 on: July 19, 2017, 02:55:13 pm »
    P.S. Since it's one scene, would it help to pretend it's still there and done, skip over it, finish your book, and then with the rest of the work completed as incentive, go back and rewrite the missing scene?

    That's the plan for now. Problem is I only have about one other scene left  :o Hopefully by the time I finish I won't be feeling the sting of this incident so much and I can just power through to the end. I really don't want to avoid it for too long since I was so excited about finally finishing my first novel, but it's difficult to face it right now. It's both comforting as well as frightening how many people can relate! It's way too easy for us to lose our work!


    Offline Marina Finlayson

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 657
    • Gender: Female
    • Sydney, Australia
      • View Profile
      • Marina Finlayson
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #16 on: July 19, 2017, 05:48:15 pm »

    Now I'm afraid I'll never be able to replicate that. That anything I try to write now is going to sound rushed and jumbled, and I'll have completely screwed over this entire novel I've been working so long on. Am I being dramatic? Probably. I can't help it. This is my first novel, and I was SO CLOSE to being done. I just need a little boost. Tell me I'm not doomed to a lackluster ending, that all is not lost.

    All is definitely not lost, though I feel your pain! Write a chapter outline before you forget your brilliance, and then just slog through it. If the new version's not quite as brilliant as you remember, well, that's what revision is for. You can polish that sucker until it shines later; for now, just get it down so you can feel the thrill of finishing your first book.

    Marina Finlayson | Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

    Offline kathrynoh

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2593
    • Gender: Female
    • Melbourne, Australia
      • View Profile
      • Kathryn O'Halloran
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #17 on: July 19, 2017, 07:19:20 pm »
    Yikes, that's the most horrible, gut wrenching feeling. I lost the beginning of a story once, just the first few chapters, but could never go back and rewrite it.

    Since it's just one chapter, then its definitely worth doing and you will do it well. Tbh, a few times I've rewritten stuff I thought was lost and, in my head, the original was so much better but then I've recovered the original and it's never been as good as I'd thought. I'm not sure if that is reassuring or not :) But, yep, power though. Every job has crappy bits and this is one of the crappy bits of being a writer.

    Offline Nicksm28

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 164
    • Gender: Male
    • Greeley, Colorado
      • View Profile
      • Myth&Legend: bird's eye view
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #18 on: July 19, 2017, 07:39:31 pm »
    I'm sorry to hear that, it's hard when you lose work. I always try to email it to myself for that reason. My advice though is to try and get back into that "groove" and see what else you can come up with for the climax. You may even be able to remember bits and pieces of what you lost.

    Nicholas McAuliff

    Offline RandomThings

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 124
      • View Profile
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #19 on: July 20, 2017, 12:46:32 am »
    Been there and done that and while you can never get it back exactly as it was, you have some idea of what happened in the scene and as you re-write it out, sometimes you can get a flash of inspiration and think to yourself that perhaps doing it just a little differently this time will improve on it anyway... or at least that's what I told myself. :)

    Offline unkownwriter

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 7358
      • View Profile
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #20 on: July 20, 2017, 04:00:29 am »
    I'm going to go against the grain and say, suck it up. Write the scene. It won't be the same, but think of it as having done a first draft that needs to be reworked. I know it seems impossible, but you wrote it once, you can do it again.

    See, I used to be all, oh I can't not write this down, or I can't get over that story that got lost, or I forgot that wonderful plot point/twist, or that cool title, or whatever. It really upset me. I felt like an idiot for not backing up/writing a note/whatever. Now, I'm more philosophical about it. These things came out of my head, there's lots more where they came from, and worrying over it won't make them come back. Only writing more -- or if I'm absolutely determined, to rewrite it -- helps.

    In addition to backing up to a flash drive, you can get a service like Dropbox. It's free up to so many whatevers, and there are loads of other places like it. Email a copy to yourself, if you'd like at well.

    Offline Doglover

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 5603
    • Gender: Female
    • Huntingdon, United Kingdom
    • If you want real love, buy a dog.
      • View Profile
      • Margaret Brazear Author
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #21 on: July 20, 2017, 04:42:42 am »
    If it makes you feel any better, I wrote my first novel, over 100,000 words, some forty years ago. It was a historical, complete with all the research that went with it (books in those days) but it never got sent to a publisher. No computers, so I had typed it and had a carbon copy. When I found kdp, I had lost the whole thing over a few house moves. I had to write the whole thing from memory with a lot of embellishment.

    It will come to you again.


    The past is another country; they do things differently there
    Margaret Brazear | Website | Blog | Facebook | Newsletter

    Offline RRodriguez

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 420
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
      • The Pixie Chronicles
    Re: Re-writing a lost scene? Please lift my spirits.
    « Reply #22 on: July 20, 2017, 07:55:13 am »
    Thanks everyone, you've all really boosted my confidence that I can make this story work, despite this setback :)

    I'm giving it one final go as I have a friend in IT who thinks he may be able to get back what I lost. But if he can't recover I won't keep trying and I'll just get started on rewriting and not dwell on it anymore. In the meantime I'm focusing on lighter writing-outlining, worldbuilding, etc. I find that helps to clear my head and get me back in the writing zone.


    KBoards.com

    • Advertisement
    • ***