Friday, February 23, 2018

Sailing Venus: Glitch in the matrix

So, the past few days I've lost a few thousand words, gained a few thousand words then lost a few thousand words, all without writing a single thing. I do not recommend it.

Follow: My pre-teen son like the idea of reading and writing books, but he has somewhat severe ADHD, and isn't terribly successful with either. He's aware I've been writing Sailing Venus is already talking about the Hollywood premiere for when it is inevitably adapted into a motion picture. The other day, he said he was so looking forward to reading it when it was published that he couldn't hardly wait. "You don't need to wait," I said. "You can read the first draft now, if you want. But it's not polished or edited." This got him excited, and I promised I'd print out a copy of chapter 1. Actually, I was busy trying to install a new motor for our swimming pool pump, but he pestered me so much I gave up on that and tried to print a chapter out.

At this point I discovered my novel's the master file had suffered some sort of corruption. The final quarter of chapter one was missing, as was the first two-thirds of chapter two. One sentence just ran straight into the other. Uh oh. My backups showed the same glitch. Not good. I hadn't been saving the novel chapter-by-chapter, I've just been writing it as one long, continuous file. After some desperate hunting, I found copies of those original files in my email from when I'd sent them out to my writing group. Thankfully, problem solved. I restored the missing copy, and saw my word count jump by thousands. Yay! But then, as I was scrolling through to set up printing, I ran across this:

Page after page of random numbers. Where the hell did that come from? Despite my initial alarm, the numerical gibberish did not replace actual text--it just appeared in addition to said text, right in the middle of the chapter. I fixed that, but found weird formatting changes scattered throughout, stuff like random paragraphs aligned center, random words and phrases underlined, odd line breaks, etc. Some of it's been fixed, some I'm just ignoring for now. I don't think this is the result of malware, and my software is generally up to date, so I'm kind of stumped on the causes. I just noticed recently, so I don't know how long this has been the case. Obviously, I'm going to keep a close eye on it going forward, to see if any more glitchy stuff shows up.

Fortunately, at the end of the day I ended up recovering more words than I lost, so that is good, although, all things being equal, I'd rather add and retain words in a more traditional manner.

Now Playing: Various artist The Caribbean Calypsonians
Chicken Ranch Central

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