Friday, September 28, 2007

Jesus Saves; Jacqueline Apparently Does Not

Warning: Do not read this post if you are easily offended by religious humor. While I think this joke is perfectly inoffensive (not to mention very funny), you may feel differently.

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.

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."

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!

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!


Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Oh, I've pasted when I should have copied, lost chapters (but thankfully found them somewhere else). I now have everything backed up on 2 pendrives. Paranoia is my middle name.

You will write your scene even better the second time around!

Tessa Dare said...

Argh, how frustrating! I haven't (knock wood) lost huge bits yet, but I've definitely lost little pieces here and there to various snafus.

There actually is an online service called Carbonite that will automatically back up all your files every day - it's $50/year or something.

Jackie Barbosa said...

Thanks for the commiseration and encouragement, ladies.

Unfortunately, file backup wouldn't have helped me, I don't think. The file must have been opened, the two missing scenes deleted, and then saved when I closed the file again. I suspect someone leaned on the keyboard or something and, since I habitually save files when I close them, I saved it without realizing all that stuff had been deleted. So the file that I backed up would have been the same one I'd already lost the data from.

Or else I just hallucinated the writing. I suppose there's always a possibility!

Ericka Scott said...

Whenever I ftp stuff to my website, I have to check, double-check, and then triple-check to make sure I'm working on the right website since both website files have identical names...I've goobered it up several times and had to reconstruct stuff from backups. Grrrr.

Sorry about your file...but I agree, you'll write the scene better this time around!

Darcy Burke said...

What a bummer Jacq! Something similar happened to me last month while I was putting the polish on Glorious. Spent a lot of time reconstructing (comments/changes that had been unwittingly accepted - by me).

Thanks for the crossing of the fingers. Surprisingly (to me anyway), I'm a wreck today. I feel like death warmed over. I'm sure it's a combination of lots of things, but I'll feel better when this Maggie ceremony is over!

lacey kaye said...

I did it. Saved the wrong version over the good version. And the other day I lost my MM blog post and never did feel like the second version was as good. Sympathies!

Hang in there, Darc! It's almost over!