My long, strange road to becoming a published novelist (Part IV)

By Mark Terence Chapman

(This entry is a continuation of one on author Joyce A. Anthony’s blog. Click here to return to Part III.)

Most of my manuscript was gone, sent to the bit-bucket in the sky. I had a couple of weeks left until my deadline, but no book. I tried not to panic, but it was a frightening moment. Then I realized that some or all of the missing files were probably on my wife’s computer, from when she edited them. Not necessarily the latest versions, but at least something recent to work from.

I rushed down to her computer and backed up what she had and returned to my computer with the files. I was still missing two chapters. Crap. I hunted around and found a floppy with an older backup of the missing files. So now I had a book, but I was down several days worth of work on some of the chapters. I scrounged around through my trash can and found printouts with handwritten edits for most of the chapters. I worked from those and eventually managed to get myself back to the point just before I deleted all those files. I wasted the better part of a day on all those shenanigans, but at least I was back in business. (That day taught me the lesson of always having at least two backups of everything—preferably one of them offsite, in case of fire or flood.)

Crisis averted, I finished the book before the deadline, and sent it off to my editor and waited. And waited. And waited. After a month, I called the editor and he said he hadn’t received the manuscript! (So why hadn’t he called me when it was a week or two late in arriving?) He checked around and discovered that it was sitting on a desk in the old office. (They’d moved recently and hadn’t bothered to give me the new address….)

After that, it was a matter of reviewing his edits, sending back the manuscript and waiting for the next round of edits. But we got it done, and finally the 476-page OS/2 Power User’s Reference: From OS/2 2.0 Through Warp trade paperback was published in December 1995. (Just in time for Windows 95 to kill off the market for OS/2 and OS/2-related books. Oh well.)

But what does any of this have to do with fiction writing, you ask? This was the steppingstone that got me thinking about novels next. That odyssey begins here in the next segment of the story, on author Karina Fabian’s blog.

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