Rewrite a lost WIP from scratch?

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JohnDurvin
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Rewrite a lost WIP from scratch?

Post by JohnDurvin » March 10th, 2011, 12:57 pm

There's a good possibility my writing-computer has died, and it looks like my backup files didn't backup. So now I'm faced with a dilemma: my WIP and all my reference files and notes might be gone. I was about fifty pages of nine-point type in--hadn't checked the word count in a while--and now I'm wondering, do I try to reconstruct it? Rewrites are good and all, but I don't have the original to refer to, and I have this feeling that if I try to recreate it from scratch, I'm going to be putting too much effort into sticking with the original and not enough into the story itself.
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Preacher
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Re: Rewrite a lost WIP from scratch?

Post by Preacher » March 10th, 2011, 1:07 pm

It is horrible when that happens. The interesting thing about this situation is that if you go back to this story it will be like looking at it with fresh eyes. It will probably take an entirely new direction, and that is not always a bad thing. Things about your characters that you never considered could come up and it may make for a better story in the end. I would never give up on a lost WIP. I would attack it again, relist my premise and then go back and start asking all of the W questions. Ask what the MC wants. Ask what is in his way and what the results are if he or she does not get what they want. Trying that may fill in the blanks and get you back on course. It may not be the exact same course you set out on but, in the end, it may be the right one or just simply put a better one.

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Mike Dickson
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Re: Rewrite a lost WIP from scratch?

Post by Mike Dickson » March 10th, 2011, 2:22 pm

JohnDurvin wrote:There's a good possibility my writing-computer has died, and it looks like my backup files didn't backup. So now I'm faced with a dilemma: my WIP and all my reference files and notes might be gone. I was about fifty pages of nine-point type in--hadn't checked the word count in a while--and now I'm wondering, do I try to reconstruct it? Rewrites are good and all, but I don't have the original to refer to, and I have this feeling that if I try to recreate it from scratch, I'm going to be putting too much effort into sticking with the original and not enough into the story itself.
John,

Pull out the hard drive and plug it into another computer. If your hard drive is still okay, you can pull your stuff off the old hard drive by using the working computer as a surrogate.

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dios4vida
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Re: Rewrite a lost WIP from scratch?

Post by dios4vida » March 10th, 2011, 6:49 pm

As odd as it seems, I agree with both suggestions. I'd try to resurrect the HDD enough to pull off the data. There's no sense in starting all over until you know for sure that you can't get it back. There are several tools that can pull data off of fried HDDs but I wouldn't suggest you try those unless you know a lot about computers. You can always talk to your resident computer geek (if you have one) or the Geek Squad and see if the experts can help. It's worth it to get a pro's help.

If it's most definitely gone to Electronic Oblivion, then you have my sympathies and I'd say go for the rewrite. If you loved the story enough to stick with it for long the first time, the second should be just as good.

Good luck with whatever happens!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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cheekychook
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Re: Rewrite a lost WIP from scratch?

Post by cheekychook » March 10th, 2011, 8:22 pm

First off, my sympathies---it is beyond sucky when stuff like that happens. It's also very discouraging. I once spent an entire day editing down a 65 page segment (that had been driving me crazy)--I got it down to 30 pages that I was finally happy with, thanks to major, major rewriting, and then I accidentally deleted my changes. I couldn't even blame my computer, as it was totally human error. My error. Not a good day.

Second, for the future, try this simple back-up method---email yourself a copy of whatever you write---then you have a copy safely stored somewhere. I do this all the time, and I usually email a copy to my critique partner as well, just for an extra measure of security. I have copies on memory sticks, too, but the email gives me additional peace of mind.

Third, I agree with the suggestion of trying any possible means for extracting stuff that may still be left on there---no harm in trying.

Fourth, just rewrite it. It may surprise you how easy (at least parts) of the rewrite might be. There was one time when I thought I'd lost a twenty-some page chunk of my manuscript. I rewrote it, in its entirety, then promptly found the original file (hiding in my photos instead of my document file). I compared the two and was amazed to see that huge chunks came out word for word identical. It's your story. It came from your head. Your personal backup files are in your brain somewhere. Your brain may be far more efficient than your computer apparently was.

Good luck.
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