POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - One of the most sickening moments any author can have - and I speak from recent experience - is losing a manuscript, or even a part of a work-in-progress.
The annals of authorship are full of horror stories of such accidental - or purposeful - losses.
One of my favorites is a particularly horrific tale, about an author's work of horror - Robert Louis Stevenson and his famous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
It seems the first draft of the 30,000-word story was tossed in the fire (on purpose) by Stevenson's wife who deemed it less-than memorable and not worthy of publication. Ironically, a redraft, written feverishly by a very-ill Stevenson, went on to become one of his most famous works.
And so it was early May 4 that the last 10,000 words of The Devil's Pipeline draft went missing. Not because Admiral Fox had taken a dislike to the draft - she hasn't seen anything except the first few chapters. It was thought lost due to a Microsoft Word glitch combined with author sloppiness in saving two-days work.
Luckily, the latches on the windows of our four-story condo were firmly stuck this morning when the words went walkabout for an hour or so.
After searching backup copies, the most recent draft surfaced. It seems in this author's haste to finish, the most recent backup copy was mislabelled and misfiled. It has since been backed up in two offline spots, with an entirely new naming system to avoid any more high-blood pressure episodes.
Now the explosions, arrests, and courtroom dramas in the formerly missing 10,000 words back in play, all leading up to one last gasping surge of writing this week and into next.