It’s NaNoWriMo Preptime!

NaNoWriMo winner's certificate
My certificate for writing 50,000 words of a novel in November for the writing challenge called NaNoWriMo 2021.

It’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month. I’m on their email list and they’ve begun a six-week NaNoWriMo prep.

Last year was my first attempt at writing a rough draft of a novel during November. I did it!

But what I didn’t do was back up my manuscript. How or why? In any case, my laptop had a hardware issue and most of my files disappeared including my 50,000 word novel!

I called Apple and they tried for days to recover my files on icloud and my hard drive. No luck.

I’ve begun rewriting my novel and changed the point of view from one character to four characters alternating their stories. I’m at about 25,000 words. It’s added depth to the characters rather than viewing them from one perspective.

The emails from NaNoWriMo have motivated me to finish the manuscript. I’ll use their prep weeks to improve what I’ve written so far.

NaNoWriMo is giving me a second chance with this idea! I’m starting today. I don’t have to begin with a new idea. It’s just the push I need to complete this rough draft — again.

Have you tried the NaNoWriMo challenge?

Would you consider doing it this year with me?

A fresh start

My new laptop

Last week I got my new laptop. My new glasses also came in. I am thrilled to see through glasses without scratches. Such a joy. The optometrist told me that my right eye has gotten a little worse since my cataract surgery pre COVID. But my left eye is the same. I’ve always had trouble with the right eye not being able to focus due to a hole in my retina. I think it’s congenital and I’ve had it checked through the years and it hasn’t gotten any worse. Thank goodness!

Here’s the deal. With my new computer and better vision I have started on draft number two of my manuscript that disappeared off my old laptop. I’ve roughed out a chapter outline and worked on my characters to add more depth. It was a manuscript I wrote for NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month where you write 50,000 of a rough draft in the month of November.

I put off working on rewriting the draft until the new computer came in. Files continued to disappear from my old laptop. I didn’t have the desire or energy to get all worked up if I happened to lose another draft.

Which reminds me. I need to order a new back up drive!

Are you working on any new or old projects that you’re excited about? What are they?

My new glasses without scratches in my line of vision!

Not to dwell…

The baby quail are delightful to watch. They get my mind off the unpleasant.

So. Apple contacted me at 7 a.m. yesterday. Just like they said they would. However the news was not good. At least the customer service was excellent with the tech keeping his word on when he’d call. He followed up with me several times throughout the process.

If you missed my post yesterday you can read it HERE to learn what happened.

“It looks like they have recovered all available files that could be recovered. They also stated that they will have no other ways to recover the data if it is still 
missing,” he said.

I looked through my computer to see what files they were able to recover. I noticed three and four copies of the files already there. So now I have a mess to clean up.

I felt a mourning loss for my work. I don’t look forward to my next newsletter that I have to start without the use of the two published newsletters to use as templates.

My son told me something I’ve never heard before. Ernest Hemingway lost 10 years of his work. It was all in one briefcase that he left on a train in France.

I’m not the only one to lose a manuscript. And it happened before computers and the cloud. Who knew?

“Did you know that D.H. Lawrence never edited his drafts?” My son told me. “He threw it out if he didn’t like it and started over.”

He told me to look at my NaNoWriMo missing manuscript as an opportunity, not a loss.

Thinking about that, he may be right. I get too married to my first rough draft. I make little edits here and there on later drafts, but I never get to the meat of throwing out scenes or restructuring my plot. I’ve submitted manuscripts to agents and publishers and have gotten interest. I’ve been given suggestions and have been asked for rewrites. But, after I resubmitted, I’d hear that I didn’t go far enough.

Do you find the silver lining in your mishaps? When life gives you lemons, do you make lemonade? Can you give an example?

Where did it go?

Mule deer
A mule deer I saw on my morning walk.

When I sat down at my laptop yesterday morning something didn’t look right. The folder on my desktop called “All My Files” wasn’t there. It was there before I went to sleep. Gone 10 hours later.

I googled how to restore files. How to find files. Apparently the OS I’m using can hide documents from view. I went through five ways to find my files. I went to icloud. My missing files are still missing.

Finally. I went to the Apple website to book an appointment at the local “genius bar.” Instead I clicked on “call.” They called within seconds. I spent more than three hours on the phone yesterday with two techs. They searched near and far and in the cloud for my files. They both asked me if I had backed up my files on a thumb drive or external hard drive.

“No.”

What was I thinking about? Why didn’t I? I realized it had to do with our move. My two external hard drives that used to sit by my computer at home….didn’t make it back to that handy place where I used them. Out of sight. Out of mind.

I found my bright orange La Cie external hard drive and it’s now sitting next to my computer. I won’t make the mistake thinking my computer automatically stores all my files on icloud. Some files are there. But the ones most important to me are not. My entire NaNoWriMo 50,000-word manuscript is gone. My newsletter files are gone. There’s a gap of a few days in May when I finished the newsletter that are missing. There’s a month when I wrote the manuscript that is gone.

I had both of these files open on my laptop. Where did they go?

I’ve learned my lesson to make copies and backups.

My case with Apple has been escalated to engineering. They “may” be able to restore my hard drive with all my files. Or they may not.

I’ll let you know tomorrow. In any case they were very helpful and didn’t chastise me for not backing up. But I learned my lesson. What’s left is backed up.

A mule deer catching afternoon shade against our fence. The mulies have nothing to do with my post today — except keep me calm with their beauty.

How often do you backup your computer? Have you experienced a computer snafu that stressed you out? What was it?

What’s your point of view?

NaNoWriMo winner's certificate
My certificate for writing 50,000 words of a novel in November for the writing challenge called NaNoWriMo.

I’ve been thinking about the project I began for my first NaNoWriMo writing challenge. After the New Year, I plan to dive in and rewrite it. Currently, the story is told in first person of the protagonist who is loosely based on me. I’ve been musing about how I need to make the plot more exciting — but then I began thinking about point of view. I think that’s where I need to start.

The premise is three women and their young children who are peacefully enjoying their quiet lives when the antagonist, an eccentric, larger-than-life character, whirls into their lives creating drama and upheaval. I think telling the entire tale from one character’s perspective is monotonous. It limits the story, because you only know what one person sees and how they interpret people and events.

I dusted off Liane Moriarity’s “Big Little Lies” which I read years ago and discovered that the chapters are told from the POV of Madeline, Jane and Celeste — in third person. It isn’t told from one woman’s point of view at all. If you haven’t read it or watched the TV show, it’s also a story of friendships of mothers of young children.

When I first began writing years ago, my writing mentor Gerry Petievich who wrote “To Live and Die in L.A.” held writer’s conferences. He said to pick out a book as a pattern book when you begin to write a novel. He said you don’t copy it. What I took away from him is that you analyze different things that work in that book such as plot structure, voice and characters. I realized that “Big Little Lies” can fill that role for my project.

Gerry Petievich "To Live and Die in L.A."

I think by alternating the POV to each of the main characters, it will add depth. I’ll need to give each character their own voice and I’ll have to flesh out their lives much deeper than they are now — which currently are only snippets of their lives seen by the protagonist. I’m not sure if I should alternate first person voice or use third person omniscient point of view like “Big Little Lies.” I tend to favor writing in first person.

When you are reading or writing, what point of view do you prefer? First or third person? What is your opinion of books that alternate points of views of characters each chapter? Do you find switching POV is confusing or do you think it adds to the story?

Have you read “Big Little Lies” or “To Live and Die in L.A.?” Have you seen the TV show or movie?.

Big Little Lies book by Liane Moriarty.
Cover of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

I did it!

My first attempt at NaNoWriMo and I finished a day early — Nov. 29th. Woohoo! It’s a good feeling to meet my goal. I almost gave up this week with all the raw emotions running through our home because we lost a close friend.

I channeled that emotion and it powered me through the final words of my 50,000-word novel. It felt good to lock myself in an empty room and write.

The secret to NaNoWriMo is to not critique or edit, but just write. I know my plot needs work and perhaps a complete overhaul. There are few good bits to my novel including the characters and the settings. I’m planning on facing the editing process in 2022 after taking a break and getting distance from my work.

How do you feel when you reach your goals? What makes you give up when you decide not to follow through?

What a week!

I hit the halfway point of my writing challenge at the start of the week.

Actually, not much happened out of the ordinary. But compared to most of my weeks during the past year and a half COVID days, a lot did happen.

Here’s a quick rundown:

I hit my goals for NaNoWriMo this week.

I managed to fit in posting blogs and reading other bloggers worked around my novel writing.

I played lots of ping pong and I sense some improvement.

I went to the Podiatrist and found an In-N-Out only 30 minutes from our house.

I had my first meeting as the official newsletter editor for our HOA. I met three new people who will be working with me to get the newsletter written and produced.

I took Olive the cat to the vet for shots. I had to find a new vet, since she hasn’t been to one in Arizona. I am not a person who regularly takes the cat to the vet. First of all, Olive hates it. She cries incessantly in the car and then she shudders and shakes. She doesn’t need to go to the vet if she’s not sick. But I called the place we boarded her in August to make a reservation for a trip planned in December. They told me one of her shots had expired. We both survived the trip to the vet, barely.

I talked to several of my old friends on long phone conversations after reading the article I posted on the importance of friendships. You can read that HERE if you missed it.

I went to my first NFL game in person.

Today I’m headed to our farmer’s market to get treats for Thanksgiving-week guests and my dad.

cat on a patch of grass in the house
Olive cat on her patch of grass next to pots of cat grass.

Happy Friday!

Have you noticed your weeks getting busier? Is it because we’re leaving COVID behind us? What makes your weeks busier? Or did I just have a one-off week?