Well, I’d finished the latest draft of my novel Jacob’s Ladder, and was feeling rather smug, ready to relax and access some culture, be more sociable, do some serious gardening or just rest. But something made me think: What happened to that scene where they come back and he’s thrown all her letters away? A crucial scene when she realises he’s more complex than she initially thought. I’m sure I wrote it. But it’s not here.

The problem was for this redrafting I was relying on email attachments of my novel because I’d lost everything when the memory on my pc went and the engineer couldn’t retrieve anything! And I hadn’t backed it up.

So, I went back to my emails to my then agent to see if I could find anything, and there it was: a later draft than the one I’ve just spent three months working on. Eureka! When I looked through and found the letter scene, I also found lots of other scenes that I’d forgotten about and which made the whole novel so much better. Now I’m trawling through the lost draft for more gems… and trying not to get bogged down in the details. But it’s hard. I feel a mixture of admiration for what I’d written, and profound irritation that I hadn’t backed it up at the time. And that all this time I’ve been working from a much earlier draft.

Remember to back up your work everyone! Mine all goes on OneDrive now!

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