• Phoebe Wilby

Lost words found ...




In 2007 or thereabouts our house was broken into and, among other things, my laptop was stolen. Although I was eventually able to replace my laptop, and the other things that were taken, there are some things that money just cannot replace, no matter how good your insurance is.


Up to that point I had written about 70,000 words of the first draft of my novel, and, although I had printed some of it out, most of it was gone. As you can imagine, I was devastated. For years after that event, I wrote nothing, not even a poem. Anyone who has lost words knows how difficult it is to rewrite from scratch. I loved the story I had written and thought I'd never get it back.


Well, I have. Kind of. About a month ago I looked at my printed out pages and decided I was going to do something with it. I scanned them into my computer, tidied up the text a bit, and started writing a bit more. Soon I had a (very) rough 45,000 word first draft of book 1 in the series, and a jolly decent 30,000 words of book 2. Now I know those numbers aren't that big, but I've pretty much retrieved those lost words and now need to take it from there.


Lesson learned. Always have a back up!


Funny story, now. A friend asked me where my first story I had ever written was. I don't have it, and I don't have the second one either. The first was written in Grade 4 and was a story about a haunted house. The school principal liked it and it was on his wall of fame for weeks. The second was an amusing piece about my school teacher who was also the headmaster, when I was in Grade 6 or 7. We lived in a small village and went to the two teacher school and this particular story saw Mr James afraid of the thunder storm and being chased by his Great Dane, Lara. I wish I could remember more of it.


Anyway, this made me think about some of those stories - short stories - I had written in my early twenties, during the wild days I mentioned in a previous post and I remember looking through some old CD ROMs to find something else, which I never did find, and seeing there were a couple of CD ROMs containing archived works from years ago. Today I decided to see what was on them.


I am so happy! I found so many short stories, some actually finished, the kiddie stories I'd written, some strange poetry, my old journal I'd typed up - although I didn't get too excited about that as there are way too many gaps - and all sorts of bit and bobs of writing. They will all see the light of day eventually in some form or another, although all need tweaking. The deer photograph also came from the archive CD!


So, moral of the story again? Back up your work! You never know when you might need it!

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© 2015 by Phoebe Wilby.