When I got home from my Aussie trip there was a letter from Medallion Press requesting the full manuscript of Beyond the Shadows. I'd sent them a partial in June, just on spec, and really didn't expect it to go anywhere, this being the tough business it is. Anyway, I was so thrilled and panicking a bit as the letter was dated July 26th and this was now August 14th. I wondered if they thought I thought I was so darn special I wasn't even answering. Heh.
They had included an email contact and asked for a heads up if they were to recieve the manuscript. I emailed, told them to give me a week to recover from my jetlag. In typical style two days later I was futzing away at the thing and totally disregarding the fact that I was indeed suffering with jetlag.
By the Friday I thought it was good to go and printed it up and had my envelope made and at the last minute realized I hadn't printed a manuscript cover page. I quickly did one, wondering why mine was not in the folder because that's normally what I do. (I put manuscript, synopsis both long and short, query letter, pitch blurb, manuscript cover all in a folder.) Anyway, I was using the flash drive as I'd stored everything on it to take with me to National and to the Aussie conference so I could get some work done. When I closed out the document it asked if I wanted to replace with the original and I pressed yes, still thinking manuscript cover. The ms. cover of course had the same title as the ms. I had this sinking feeling as I removed my finger from the key and hurried back to check. I had replaced an entire manuscript with a one page manuscript cover. OMG! I was frozen in place. How could I have been so stupid? I began my search. Nothing. I did a wider search. Still nothing. I looked everywhere. There was an older version of the entire story but it didn't have all of the updated information, the new weaves I'd done post the HWSW workshop.
I called everyone I knew and they all said the same thing, "It's gone." So I took the printed version to Staples and had a copy made, then I mailed the package to the Publisher. Then I took a few days off to totally shake the jetlag, and with my photocopy I started re-typing it into a new document. Have you ever tried that? I hope you don't have to. With all of the dialogue and the checking and re-checking it's a slow process. I'm good for about five to ten pages a day.
Today, I took another look at the old copy still on my hard drive. I decided it would be simpler to work from it as I realized a lot of the in-depth changes had been done in the first act. The changes to the other acts were more weaving through and there were later pages that were unchanged. Whew! So I copied in my newly typed four chapters and deleted the four older ones. It's still a chore but at least this way I've managed a twenty page chapter in four hours. Tomorrow might be better. Now I'm taking a break. A chapter a day is good news. I'll be done with this baby in two more weeks, but I'm not rushing.
So, for all of you newbies out there (like me) don't panic like I did. The person requesting our material isn't sitting drumming their fingers on the desk impatiently awaiting the arrival of our manuscript. They have a lot of others ahead of ours. We should let them know we're delighted at the request, but take our time, get it right, it's not a race. And, back it up, back it up, back it up. I had to learn that the hard way and I don't think I'll ever forget it.