My Thumb Drive Ate My Homework…

Could you imagine kids of the future (more like the present), telling some teacher that?

Maybe it’s lame. Or maybe it’s just bad, bad circumstances come to bite the backside.

Something tells me losing track of things, or losing them entirely, doesn’t only affect kids.

I planned on making this a for-fiction-writers-only Fiction File, but this applies to everyone, whether you write fiction, emails, scripts for TV, or what-have-ya.

Enough dallying. Let’s get to it.

I checked my email this morning, and noticed I’d received a reply to a fiction submission I’d made to Painted Bride Quarterly, an online mag run by Drexel University.

Well, I thought, might as well see what they want. I figured they said they looked over my story, and it might not have been for them.

Boy, was I surprised.

They said they couldn’t even read it.

And if I wanted to get my piece in for consideration, I had to resubmit it.

I accessed the PDF backup on the file submission site the magazine uses (Submittable).

All I saw was nine blank pages.

Blank.

Then I went to my thumb drive where my original was…

And horror struck.

The document took waaay too long to open. I knew I’d dealt with this monster as soon as I saw it. The document opened, and I saw…My name? Word count? Title? Nope.

100,000 tiny little squares. Nine pages of them, in all, each one smaller than the eraser on the end of a pencil.

My manuscript was completely gone.

I had a previous version I added on to, and resubmitted, but I felt like an idiot anyway. What if I hadn’t had a 75% done version to fall back on that hadn’t been corrupted?

One solution I’d run across when something similar happened previously was to never make a new copy of a document, and save it directly to removable media. Save it to the hard drive first, and then transfer it.

I’ve also heard of folks who use Google Docs/Drive or Dropbox to keep track of things. I avoided that solution, because I have a dial-up connection, and the last month there were a lot of days our main line, the internet line, or both were dead (great for blog post ideas, and bad for me).

I might have been able to search for a draft of the story that I had printed off, but I have enough paper in my life as it is, you know?

I also remember something about this in a newsletter I’d read from The Literary Midwife.

Trying to plan for all probabilities is good, because I want to say this will never happen again, no matter what.

Whew. Has anything like this ever happened to you? And what did you do about it? Drop me a line about it below.

Until next time,

Ty

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About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
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