Mourning a loss
I recently fell victim to a alarm blocker scam, and returned to my car from gym (VirginActive Houghton) one morning a few weeks ago to find everything gone.
Including my PC.
Which had about 10,000 words of my new novel (not the one coming out next year, but the one I was working on for some unspecified future publication).
Which of course, I hadn’t backed up (so much for my reputation as a technology guru).
After the initial shock, and the subsequent progression of Kubler’s 7 stages of grief, I am a man humbled and wise.
The book started, as all of my books do, with the rendering of a character I found interesting, and around whom my story was to coalesce. As sometimes happens, I got immediately into the zone, and the character, one Cory Pinkus, just flowed out. I loved him, was able to inhabit him quickly, without too much forethought. He was born dimensional, and his life and times were coming into focus.
And then the theft, and the loss of Cory.
Much like in real life, the character cannot be reincarnated, brought back from the dead, re-animated. I have tried. He is another guy. He is not Cory. He has different concerns, fears, hopes and conceits. And I am not yet sure that his doppelganger can inhabit a book that anyone would want to read. We shall see.
There are two morals here.
The first is the fictional characters are slippery and elusive until their whole story is told. They exist as flickering film, a set of snapshots fleshed by words and connected by imagination. As the novel proceeds they begin to gain colour and texture and, if the author is lucky, some solidity, even verity. A character barely born, with a mere 10,000 words behind him is still a toddler, and his loss mourned as such by his author. And, I suppose, even those with 100,000 words behind them also eventually fade from view, but at least they have lived.
And the second moral is…back up your fucking work.