Welcome to Writers Talkback. If you are a new user, your account will have to be approved manually to prevent spam. Please bear with us in the meantime

A Cautionary Tale

edited May 2011 in - Writing Tales
Just discovered I've permanently lost the last third of a short story for PF - I sent it in December and hadn't realised it was NOT fully backed up, I'd only done 2/3 of it, and carefully backed that up on 3 different memory sticks - AARRGH. They like it and want me to make minor changes ... which I can't make because I have no copy. And neither have they, apparently, the hard copy has been chucked - how they know what changes they wanted I really don't know!
While going through all this trauma, I completely missed the final paragraph of the e-mail, in which the editor accepted another short story.
Thank goodness something sweetened the bitter pill of realising what a plonker I've been!


  • edited May 2011

    are yer back luv?


    ps sorry to hear about your trouble with this. what are you going to do?
  • never mind Ceka and well done anyway.
  • edited May 2011
    oh. ceka. what a blow! Still they liked it so write a new ending, I'm sure you'll remember much of the original one and they'll soon let you know what changes they wanted. Fortunately the brain is still pretty good at remembering things - especially when doing something one has done before!

    And congratulations on the other acceptance!
  • At least they're expecting to see something different Ceka - imagine if they'd wanted it exactly how it was!
    How about, "While I was making your changes I revised the ending, hope you like what I've done with it."
  • Look on the bright side. You didn't lose 80,000 words of a novel...
  • Who's a silly billy then, Ceka :-)

    So, what was the "something" that happened to sweeten the bitter pill?

    Just a by-note: this "event" shows exactly how important it is to be organised and to save, save, save.

    Carry on!
  • Know how you feel. I've done that too with the editing on a novel (thankfully, it was just one chapter). There's nothing worse. You just feel like sitting weeping. Then you have to just knuckle down to it and try and remember what you wrote.

    What I do now, is I email myself regular updated versions of my work. I do that every time I make a significant amount of changes, as well as putting them on a memory stick. That way I can access it from any computer.
  • I had backed up the story THREE times - but somehow managed to override the completed version with an earlier incomplete, God knows how! Just gotta rewrite as can't remember how it finished.

    [quote=Gully]So, what was the "something" that happened to sweeten the bitter pill?[/quote]
    It says up there, Gully, as hidden as it was in my e-mail, Gully! They accepted another story at the same time

    Cheers, folks!
  • [quote=Jenthom72]What I do now, is I email myself regular updated versions of my work. I do that every time I make a significant amount of changes, as well as putting them on a memory stick. That way I can access it from any computer.[/quote]

    Never thought of that, Jenthom, but it's a good idea, thanks
  • Goodluck with the new ending Ceka...
  • Commisserations Ceka - what bad luck
  • I'm sure you'll do okay Ceka, and congratulations on the other acceptance.
  • Hope you get it sorted Ceka.
  • Oh no! How on earth did that happen? It's going to make us all even more paranoid about backing up!

    Hopefully the new ending will be twice as good as the old one - especially as you're writing it now knowing it's got a home waiting for it.
  • What an annoying mistake to make - especially as you had taken the precaution of backing up the work three times!

    I print out my stuff in its final draft stage whenever possible because I often find errors that I don't see on the screen and I tend to keep the scribbled on draft afterwards. Even so - on the very rare occasions I've had to send out a hard copy rather than e-mail, I always keep a photocopy.

    E-mail is so much better because you've got the original without having to remember to save it!

    Good luck with your re-write, ceka.
  • What a nuisance!

    Still, at least they won't remeber the ending either so you have a bit of licence!
  • beans for breakkie, bean
    for dinner and tea,
    all thse baked beans
    "phut, whiff"
    make a cautional endeth for me
  • Having Lady Cake return was a welcome breath of fresh air. That moment's now passed, like the wind.
  • "lumbers off"



  • Comiserations on your loss ceka, so easily done! Congratulations on the acceptance which shows they like what you write, so re-write the ending and send it off - I don't expect they'll remember the original ending any better than you do, or, as suggested you can say you've improved it and hope they like the new ending. Fingers crossed.
  • They've just been sent the new version.

    PS this is the new computer, now (for the fifth time) back from The PutadoktaShop and I gave in: I bought another flatscreen monitor for it. the PutaDoktaMan thinks this will solve the problems.
    I'll believe it when I've had more than 3 months without any trouble.
  • [quote=ceka]I'll believe it when I've had more than 3 months without any trouble. [/quote] With a computer, the only way to achieve that is to never switch the pesky thing on.
  • Fingers crossed this time Ceka.
  • Eyes crossed too.
  • EVERYTHING crossed
  • I'm not sure what I'm supposed to say! What a shame! Well done!
  • Your very presence is enough to calm me, dear Jay, thank you for calling
  • The tale creaks on: in a file clearly marked 'INCOMPLETES AND IN-PROGRESS' I found ...
    you guessed it.
    The 'lost' story. Complete, 3000 words.
    I had spent about 5 hours rewriting another ending for the original which, if you recall, was 1700 words into its track. The new tacked-on ending also took the story to 3000 words and I had edited and sent it on.
    I prefer the original and that's the one the editor wanted to see 'tweaked'.
    So I tweaked the original, MADE ABOUT 3 COPIES, backed it up in its completeness and e-mailed a copy back to the editor (also so I could not lose it ever again!) and asked her to disregard the second ending.
    Now I wait to see whether she's completely had enough of my incompetence or whether she liked the original/tweaky version enough to buy it.
    If she does, I'll tell you what it's called, cos it was you lot who gave me the idea in the first place, particularly Uncle Stanley.
  • Oh, Ceka, that must have been so irritating for you!

    Hope it all turns out successfully in the end - I'm sure it will, given your track record with them.
  • When I've lost documents, I've found a few by searching for an usual word in them - or proved that they haven't been transferred to a later computer!

    I used to have an unfinished folder; and a finished but unpublished one; and a published one - but it didn't really work. Now I try to keep things in the one folder.
  • How frustrating for you. Sod's law isn't it - finding the original when you've spent ages re-writing, sent off a second version and then prefering the first one. So eaily done too, saving in a forgotten folder. I have so many versions of each story I'm sure I'll do the same thing one day. Anyway, good luck with the re-submission.
  • [quote=ceka]The tale creaks on: in a file clearly marked 'INCOMPLETES AND IN-PROGRESS' I found ...
    you guessed it.[/quote]
    Oh Ceka! I'll own up I did chuckle when I read that but at least you found it!
  • I've lost completed stuff which I was sure I'd saved and was only saved by finding it in Sent e-mails.
  • Stanley gave you the idea ceka?

    Eek, it wasn't about him stood at the top of the stair with nowt but a night shirt and a mischievous grin, was it?
  • Well done ceka, hope she likes the original!

    ONE folder Jay? I have 43 and that's just on the desktop. In Finder I have about 100 more.
  • Yeah, it was all Stan's fault. Just a phrase, really, on a fred.
    Thank you everyone. I hope we've all learned summat!
    I've learned about the 'E-mail it to yourself' lark, very cunning.
    And Jay, I now also reckon the 'incompletes' is a waste of time - unless one keeps it absolutely up to date.
Sign In or Register to comment.