Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Saga of the Lost Nano WIP

I spent most of Thursday not writing. Don’t get me wrong. I was up bright and early, and I was ready to write, but after a little adjustment of my plot points in Scapple, Homer II, my desktop computer, decided to throw a fit twice in one hour. It had been having problems for the past several days, where the computer would freeze and I couldn’t access any of my programs. But Thursday morning, between the hours of 10:00 and 11:00, it did it twice, and I decided I’d had enough and shut the computer off for good, using the power button.

Now, I neglected to make sure the tower was completely off. Usually when I shut it down with the power button, my screen goes off first—turns blue with a “No Signal” box that drifts around bouncing off the edges of the screen. Thinking that the computer was all the way off, I disconnected my USB hub that I use to pretty much constantly keep Portaplotty (my portable external hard drive) and the thumb drive I keep my writing on connected to whatever computer of mine I happen to be using.

Then I set up my laptop, Rover II, and connected all its peripherals, including the USB hub—with Portaplotty and my Writing thumb drive still attached. I proceeded to start up the different programs I use on my computer, and since I hadn’t turned on my laptop since Scrivener’s last update, which changed the format of files for upcoming mobile apps, I had to download the new version of the program. I did that off of my BlogPosts Scrivener file and opened no others before the download was complete, which took a few minutes and the closure of the BlogPosts file. In the meantime, I finished starting up all the other programs I use

And I spent a while looking for a way to get rid of the idiotic Windows 8 Start Menu which hijacked the Windows 10 Start Menu I happen to like.

That pissed me off, so I reopened Scrivener, now assured it was fully functional with my new files. I opened BlogPosts again first; this is generally the first Scrivener file I have open. Then I opened another Scrivener file which I usually have open.

Then I opened my Wevae Scrivener file—the world where my Nano project is set.

And found it lacking.

I had the original first two scenes, all the plot cards I’d made for the new version, and notes with the most recent character list. But no story file. Just two old scenes I didn’t want any more.

Fine. I went to, where I had just the previous night, after doing all the day’s writing, backed up the Wevae file (among others). Opened the correct folder. Downloaded the backup copy, saving it to the file location of the original file, confident I would discover my work in all its glory in the downloaded copy.

Opened it.

Completely blank writing file. I still had the character list, plot cards, and story notes, though, so I wasn’t completely lost, though I did weep a bit. But I was willing to keep trying. I was not going to give up on the 14k+ words I’d written over the course of the past four days. I was determined that if I was not able to restore the actual story file, I would write like the wind to replace what I’d lost.

So I tried again. From Dropbox. Downloaded the same thing. Wept a little more, got more determined. Aha! I’ll go to the backup that I keep on Portaplotty! Searched it out, copied it to the file location on my thumb drive I open all my Scrivener work from—to find the two original scenes I wrote and didn’t want any more, five piddly plot cards, and a character list with a grand total of three names on it.


This was around noon, and about this time, one of my good efriends came online. I lamented the loss of my Nano project to her over instant messaging and she offered to help. I emailed her the share link to my Dropbox backup file. She opened it, and discovered it had bee corrupted—it lacked the story, but had the plot cards and character list and notes.

I wept a little, but decided now was the time to admit defeat—only my friend wasn’t willing to call it just yet. She advised me on how to find the backup file my computer had. So moved Rover II aside and turned on my desktop once more, hoping I’d be able to get into it, start up Scrivener for the search, extract the file, and get out of the program before Homer II decided to freeze again.

My good friend gave me the file path to seek out the file, but I couldn’t find it outside of Scrivener. So I opened Scrivener and checked the backup page in its Options section. There I found the file path, and I copied it to paste into a window in my file search. And there I found five copies of my Wevae project. I chose the most recent by date and time (about 11:30 or so Wednesday night).

Sent it to my friend. She opened it. Everything was in it. She emailed me a copy of the Wevae Scrivener file, then departed her computer to take one of her kids to work. I tried to open the file, found I could download a completely blank file, wept, then decided it was time to go exercise. I needed some stress relief, and I wasn’t willing to spend money on ice cream or donuts. Hit the gym, came home, told my friend that the email attempt had failed.

I think we tried it again before she came up with the idea of sending it to me as a PDF. This worked, after a fashion. I got the character list, some story notes, and the body of the story, but not the plot cards. And I also wasn’t able to import them into scrivener because it doesn’t recognize PDF files for import. Tried copy-pasting and that didn’t do very well since the PDF file wasn’t editable on my end.

Contacted my friend, thanked her again for the help she’d given, and asked for everything as RTF. She sent that in two files. 1) Project notes, character list, and body of wip; 2) plot cards. This worked! I was able to copy-paste everything into Scrivener—did it that way ’cause I wasn’t sure just what importing would do to the files and I wanted to be picky about how my outline was handled—and spent the remainder of the evening thanking my friend over and over for helping me recover my wip.

All told, this took five or six hours from the time I shut Homer II off between 10:00 and 11:00 this morning. I cried a lot, despaired, and, just like the heroes in some books, made things far worse before they got better with the help of a friend.


  1. What a story! So glad to hear you and your tech-savvy friend were able to recover your work. #happyending

  2. Yay for recovery!

  3. Thank God your friend was able to help you!

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