Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Missing Chapter Twelves and the Strange Things Writers do.

I was recently asked why chapter twelve is missing from my novels.
Uh, okay I'll fess up.
It's cursed.
Really it is. In the spirit of Halloween I'd thought I'd tell you about it.
One morning about a year ago, I woke up at 3:00am to a chapter trying to pound it's way out of my head. All writer's know how it is when a good muse goes bad. She demands at the oddest hours to be heard. Ignore her at your own peril.

Anyway, she was banging away in my head screaming at me to get up. So, like a good little writer I did, and gave into her demands. Come six-o-clock it was done. I was so pleased with myself. Some of the best work I'd done to date. Original, creative and just plain inspired. I was in love with that chapter. I backed it up to disc, I backed it up to a travel drive and I backed it up to the hard drive...

Do you get the feeling something bad happened???

In spades.

The disc became corrupted, the computer crashed and the travel drive fell out of my purse somewhere when I'd been out and about in town. I re-typed, doing my best to recover the exact placement of each clever word, the feel for the chapter. No matter how I tried, I just couldn't get it to work. After I'd worked to retreive the original for several hours and finally managed to throw something together that was okay, I backed it up to another computer (the one my kids use) and left it open to come back and play with. Thinking it would be a great idea to put it on another disc, since I lost my only travel drive, I did and left it at the desk.

Bad idea. My children decided they needed a disc for their music and erased (yes it was re-writable) and I not only lost the chapter, I lost the entire story. The children also managed to lose the open page. Never, leave a story open with teenagers around.

The only way I could recover the story (Yes, you guessed right. Only up to chapter 11) was to go to my online critique group and pull it from the post. I can't tell you how glad I was I'd posted it to my private queue. (If you're not a member of this site BTW, I highly recommend. http://www.critiquecircle.com/)

So, to make a long story short, I re-wrote that blasted chapter five times before it stuck, and never did it seem as good as the original.

This chapter has been a nightmare for me in other stories as well. I've lost it in one other, I've hit major writer's block on multiple occasions. All disaster seems to drop on me when I hit chapter 12. It never comes to me smooth and I've begun to despise it.

Therefore, if you notice the header Chapter 12, with one sentence under it "Please proceed to chapter 13", this is why. Crazy? Oh yes. Superstitious? Without a doubt. Am I afraid of that chapter? Oh yeah.

Moral of the story...
Back up everything to Gmail and don't write a chapter 12. (However, I sometimes will change it after I finish the story) Don't want anyone to think I can't count, or heaven forbid, I've lost it.

So, what are some of the crazy things you do? Tell me I'm not the only one who's gone insane. Do you have anything you do for luck when you write? Any routines you won't break because of bad Ju-ju? What?


Laurie said...

Ohhh great timing on your writing karma story with Halloween so close at hand. Maybe you can just call it chapter 11 1/2? It's sort of like that old superstition of not having a 14th floor in a building, yes?

I don't think I have any writers superstitions that I can think of off the top of my head, other than to immediately save my latest drafts as soon as I close a file. I typically send them to Gmail because it's such a quick, easy solution and accessible from anywhere. I also back up to an external hard drive and rotating thumbdrives on a regular basis. Even so, CritiqueCircle has also bailed me out a time or two, if I was too tired to send a file and figured I'd do it next time. Bad idea. Never expect your computer to work again the next time you turn it on. If you're a writer, you learn to live under Murphy's Law. :)

Shellie said...

Boy, that really stinks!

Maybe that could turn into a positive thing and be it your trade mark of sorts;)

I have a link to the pictures we talked about if you want the link.

Your loving Sis
(the one with a halo)

Shellie said...
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