Okay. There’s a good reason why I haven’t blogged until now. Being New Year, I decided I’d do something about getting ROADS TO MOSCOW published. Looking at what files I had relating to the project, I discovered that the extremely lengthy fine-detail synopsis that I’d done for all three books existed in their hardcopy versions, but only Book Three had survived as a computer file. So last Saturday, with a couple of hours to kill, I thought that I’d get cracking on typing up new computer copies, for use in the sales process (My plan was to get these done and then produce much smaller 3 or 4 pagers for each of the books, and a one page Selling document for the whole thing). So I set too and, with breaks to do other things, found myself by Saturday evening with a good tenth of the job done – forty-odd scenes finished. I was enjoying doing it, too – reintroducing myself to the twists and turns of what is still my favourite of all my projects.
The next day, Sunday, was to a great extent lost because Sue was visiting an old work mate and I was having dinner with my mum. At most I got about another twenty scenes done, but I was feeling very pleased with myself, and hoping to have the whole thing down within the week. And then, late on Monday, after working nine, maybe ten hours on the project – typing almost non-stop throughout the day – I got to the final paragraph I wanted to do, and saw, to my dismay, that the whole of that paragraph
was in large – 18 point – bold.
I’d been saving the text throughout the day – after every scene, to be accurate. So as I erased that final paragraph, I wasn’t expecting to find, beneath it… a blank page showing on the screen. Okay, I thought, I’ll just close the file without saving and then open it up again and type in the last paragraph properly.
Which is what I did. And… nothing. There was nothing in the file. A moment before there were 96 scenes on it, now there was… whiteness. Not panicking (yet) I called on first one of my daughters, Francesca, and then another, Amy, but neither could work out what I’d done (and I had to have done something) or how to get the information back. Between the two of them they tried everything. Gone, I realised. Two days’ work gone. Shit!
You can imagine what kind of mood I was in, and the Arsenal game was about to kick off by this time – the FA cup game against Leeds, where Thierry Henry – our all time best goal scorer – was about to pull on an Arsenal shirt for the first time in five years. Watching a dull first half didn’t raise my mood… only then… Thierry came on and… ten minutes into his latest spell at the club, he broke free and scored the winner! Imagine the elation here!
A little later I went back to the computer and sat there, frowning at it, then realised that I had backed up Saturday’s work, so half of it was actually safe, on a memory stick! So I’d not lost two days’ work, only one. So… to start the ball rolling again, I sat down and typed up ten scenes before retiring for the night, leaving the rest for the morning. It’s now Friday, mid afternoon, and I’ve probably got two thirds of the thing done. Backed up, of course. And I’m enjoying doing it. One of these days, hopefully, you’ll get to see it.
And BURYING THE SMITH? I’ve put that temporarily on the back-burner until ROADS is back to Diana, my agent. I’ve not lost my enthusiasm for it, but it’ll benefit from the brief break – I’ve already had some great additional ideas and can see how the first 7000 words can be made better, so… Watch this space.
We’ve a writer’s workshop Sunday, and I’ve got a talk at a local SF group – at the Four Sisters in Islington, Monday evening at seven. Sue is also rustling me up a whole lot of other talks to creative writing and SF groups, so it looks like I’m going to be busy for the next couple of months. I’m also working with my old friend Icaro over the next few weeks – in a house on the Chelsea Embankment – so that should inspire me with a few ideas.
More tomorrow, maybe, concerning a few things I’ve noted in the news. A little rant, I guess you’d call it, on what the so-called experts think. Oh, and a comment about the latest things I’ve been reading on my kindle. Including the latest Frankie Boyle - Bill Hicks’ diseased love-child!
David Wingrove Friday 13th January 2012