So, in my other life, I work for a software development company. Which means I work with a lot of programmers. And that's how I came to hear this joke years ago, one I admit having retold many times because I love it so much.
I recalled this joke yesterday when I came home from work, opened my work-in-progress, and discovered it to be missing two whole scenes! Nearly 2,000 words, vanished!
Jesus challenged Satan to an 8-hour programming contest. Whoever had written the best code at the end of that time would be the winner, with God serving as the judge.
Both Jesus and the devil programmed furiously for hours with God keeping an eye out for cheating. Just as the allotted time was coming to a close, the power went out.
"Well, that's it," said God. "I hereby declare Jesus as the winner."
"But how can you know?" Satan protested. "You never read his code!"
God just smiled. "Ah, but you see, Jesus saves."
Now, I'm sure I saved many times during the writing of those scenes and when I finished them and closed the file. But there was no getting around it--the file had been resaved without those scenes, though I have no idea how. (I suspect either children or gremlins.) I was able to get one scene back because I'd sent it out in email to my CPs, but the second, which wasn't quite completed, is gone forever.
I suppose losing portions of files is an occupational hazard for the modern writer. Even if you save religiously, things can go awry. Crashes and power outages aside, I'm sure all of us have probably made the mistake of saving the wrong version of a file, deleting a file we intended to keep, and so forth. Nobody's perfect (except maybe Jesus).
But I do pine for a piece of software my boss had on his Mac years ago. It was called Ghostwriter and it created a file of every single keystroke he typed that was saved constantly. And while it was usually filled a garbled mess of text, he never lost anything important. He could always go back to that file and reconstruct whatever he had written throughout the course of the day.
What about you? Ever accidentally deleted or saved over a scene you'd just written (and worse, loved)? Tell me your horror stories so we can commiserate.
P.S. Let's all cross our fingers for Maggie finalists Darcy Burke and India Carolina, who are in Atlanta for the Moonlight and Magnolias conference. I hope they're having a rousing good time. Woot, woot!