Lost manuscript… oh heck!

I have been writing for as long as I can remember, and before that making up stories… not telling fibs but creating scenes and dialogues and characters… I wonder what my earliest stories were? Many seemed to involve orphans for some reason!

Once I was able to write, then I began to write my stories. So… I have lots and lots of writing, but there came a point after three completed novels which were really not very good, I began to write what I consider my real novels. This started some time ago, before computers and word processors, but gradually I transferred my novels onto floppy discs of one size, then floppy discs of another size, then CDs and now memory sticks.

I tried to get my work published, sending things to publishers, to agents, entering competitions, but all to no avail. I have no connections with the publishing or literary world, I don’t work in the media, I have no magic ways into print. This is why I self-publish through Amazon.

With everything I have written I have kept a hard copy, which is just as well because when I came to look at the next novel I want to publish, ‘Flipside’, for some reason I only have half of it saved!! Luckily I do have the complete version on paper… so after much thought I am now copying it from the paper version. The one benefit of this is that I am editing it as I work; with novels I have written years ago, and early novels, I feel as if I need to do quite a lot of brushing up and tightening up, cut out the waffle, make it sharper and less flabby.

I know there have been novelists who have lost whole manuscripts, and I sometimes wonder with a sort of dread what I would do if that happened. Would I rewrite the whole thing from memory? Would I use the characters and plot and create something different? Or would I let it lie because I have so much else to write? I wonder!


  1. ukgardenfiend

    Feel for you here, as one of my enduring worries was what if I lost my PhD chapters.
    So I made multiple copies and copies and copies. And stored some on my computer at home, some on my husband’s computer, some on my computer at work, and some on a disk in the garage in a fire-proof safe! You can never have too many copies of anything, and as we tell our students all the time, you should work on grandfather, father, son (ie 3 copies) of anything at all times…
    Still at least you printed it, and I’ve often had to re -write the odd page where i can’t find the original, but with a book it’s more work! Never mind, I’m sure it will be worth it in the end.


    1. Lois

      Thank you – I like that, grandfather, father, son… I must remember that when I write something next time! yes, I have lots of copies stored in different places but one thing I’m not good at is titling them in sequence, so I have to search through to find the latest or best version!
      The story I’m copying I wrote quite a while ago and I think my style has matured (improved I hope!) so it is a useful exercise, although one I don’t wish to repeat!


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