Writing the manuscript and disaster.
I spent most of my COVID “vacation” working on my manuscript of The Isaiah Fountain Case–either doing research or writing the various drafts of the manuscript. I continually read and re-read the manuscript, making corrections, rewriting, re-organizing and “tweaking” it. From about the fall of 2020 to the spring of 2021, I cranked out six different drafts of the book. With the sixth draft, I was pretty darned certain that I was on the right track with my book. Then disaster struck!
Near the end of May 2021, I began to have some problems with my computer Without going into technical details about the problems, I decided to reinstall my operating system. I had done this previously and had no concerns, since I had a backup disk with all my settings and files–including my book drafts and research materials.
After the reinstallation of the operating system, I discovered that my files were missing. Well, no problem, since I had a complete backup on my backup disk. When I check the backup disk I had no backup! Somehow, someway, ALL my backup files had been erased. Not only were all my book manuscript files gone, but also all my other files: photos, correspondence, music, financial documents, family information, etc., etc. EVERYTHING WAS GONE!!!
I was devastated–mostly due to the loss of all my book files and manuscript drafts. What was I going to do? Would I be able (and willing) to start the manuscript from scratch?
After visiting a local computer guru, I was told that my files could be recovered from my computer. Although it cost me a “pretty penny” (Well, MANY pretty pennies!), I decided to have the files recovered. After a few days I got my computer back with a USB drive that contained all the files that had been on the computer.
I was very happy–until I found that the files were all identified by numbers and were not in any kind of order (i.e., Folders, sub-folders, etc.). The files were only grouped by their file types. In other words, all my PDF files were together. All my WORD file were together. All my photo files were together. Other than being grouped into batches of like file types, with each file only identified by a string of numbers, I had no idea of what was what.
The make matters worse, the the recovered backup contained multiple iterations of the same document! For instance, if I wrote a letter and made fifty corrections to the letter, I had fifty different files for that letter–one file for each edit!
The USB drive that contained the recovered files from my computer easily had millions of recovered files, identified only by numbers, with one file for each iteration of that particulat document. This was not going to be easy!
I proceeded to go through the various files. First, I needed to find files that contained family, financial, insurance and other personal information. At the same time, I was searching for any files relating to my book (manuscript drafts, research documents, etc.). Little by little, I began to re-assemble my files. Often, I’d come across a file that was important, but that I didn’t realize that I had. I figured that I was bound to stumble upon a lot of files that I forgot I even had.
I “found” a copy of my the sixth draft of my book manuscript. I had no idea of which iteration of the manuscript it was. I figured it was close enough to get me back on track with my book, so I began to reconstruct and re-write the manuscript from the recovered draft.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite as lucky in recovering some of my research files–especially copies of historic newspaper articles that I found on online databases, such as Proquest.com and Newspapers.com. I re-searched those databases and re-built my historic newspaper files for my book. Doing this To insure that I had them all, I re-researched websites, newspaper sites, etc. this task turned out to be a blessing in disguise since I found some new material that I had missed during my initial research.
By the beginning of September 2021, I had reconstructed all my research materials and polished my manuscript to the level that I was ready to have someone read the manuscipt and evaluate it. I needed some “Beta” (test) readers to review and evaluate my manuscript.