Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Defragging a Story

Have you ever had your computer defrag its files?
I've done it many times. I used to get a kick out of watching little squares disappear from one place on the grid and reappear in a different place, but the defragging  program no longer has that entertainment possibility. But I digress...
On Tuesdays, I post a new scene from 'Mac', a story I've been working on for - oh - about 35 years. Back then, I didn't have a computer. Heck, I didn't even have a typewriter. I wrote my stories in longhand, probably with a pencil, on anything resembling paper; scratch pads, used paper, partially used notebooks, paper grocery sacks, even unused tissues (although those required I use a pen).
When I did get a typewriter, parts of this story got typed up. When I got a computer, parts of this story got typed into that. Over the years, I've had several computers, and almost all of them had some Mac scenes as files.
At one point, I had the foresight to print out what Mac scenes I had in that computer, and boy, am I happy now that I did that. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Technology changes, and when you use a computer until it just won't go anymore, you don't always get to save what you absolutely want from the hard drive. How many times have I had to rewrite important Mac scenes because I couldn't retrieve them? I forget...
I thought I was really being smart about 2 computers ago, when I started saving Mac scenes on external drives. When I had to replace that computer, I made sure the one I got could still read those external files. But when I replaced THAT computer last year, it just wasn't possible to get a slot that would read 3 1/4 inch floppies anymore. So all those dozens of disks holding Mac scenes (and many other stories I've worked on) got thrown out when I was cleaning up from moving my office.
But something else happened when I was cleaning up from that move. I kept finding hand-written versions of Mac scenes; a couple scenes in this notebook, half a scene on a scratch pad, a scene in a steno pad... Lots of scenes, with no clue whether they were included in what I had printed out or not. I already have a 2-inch stack of these bits and pieces to go through, and I've still got a couple boxes of old papers and notebooks to clean out.

So now, I get to defrag this story. I get to type all these scenes into my computer, and then try to arrange the scenes in their correct sequence. That should keep me busy for a while!

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