How I Managed to Lose Track of Which Revision I was Working On

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1)If you’ve been following my Twitter or Facebook feeds for the past day or so, you’ve no doubt noticed that I’ve been frantically trying to iron out exactly which version of Vodnik I was editing. Since it’s hard to describe the problem in 140 characters of less, allow me to give a rundown for you of exactly what went wrong.

For starters, realize that I’m an electronic hoarder. I despise giving up information, and so when I work on a book, I keep each draft saved separately. I mean, digital information takes up no space, so why not hold onto it? I save the drafts according to revision number. So I have Lesana 1.0 (that was the original codeword for the book, before it had a title), Lesana 2.0, Vodnik 3.0, Vodnik 4.0 and now Vodnik 5.0. (As I’ve said before, I might have missed a draft in the Lesana to Vodnik name transition, so it might be that I’m working on Vodnik 6.0 now. But who’s counting?)

I was true to this pattern until last September, when suddenly changes were coming in as I worked frantically to revise Vodnik and get it ready for potential purchase by Tu Books. I had my third draft and various copies of the fourth draft–each of them saved by date. Vodnik 9.28.10, Vodnik 9.30.10. Add to that the emailed files and edits Stacy (my now editor) was sending me, and there were a whole lot of Vodniks flying around. Some of the emailed edits were just for the first three chapters, and so there were partial files, too.

Nice.

Anyway, cut ahead four months. Stacy sent me a printed copy of the manuscript with her notes on it. I read that copy and made further notes on it. I took those notes, opened up Vodnik 4.0 on my computer, and started editing. Five chapters in, I realized there were a few passages in my electronic version that didn’t match Stacy’s printed version.

Not good.

I looked at Vodnik 9.30.10, Vodnik 4.0 emailed, Vodnik First Three Chapters–Bryce’s Edits. All sorts of Vodniks. And I compared them to Stacy’s printed version, but they just didn’t match up. Some versions had some edits but not others. Others had different edits. Some edits I couldn’t find in any of my electronic copies. It didn’t help that it had been four months since I worked on the book, so it was all murky in my mind.

Four hours later, I’ve finally identified the problem.

Vodnik 9.30.10 was the most recent draft of mine. I failed to save it as Vodnik 4.0 to make it the final draft. However, the first three chapters were further edited, and I failed to incorporate those edits into Vodnik 9.30.10. The final twist was that the version Stacy sent me didn’t incorporate those final edits to the first three chapters, either–they just incorporated her edits to my draft. I’d made edits to those edits.

Clear as mud?

Yeah. Now you have an inkling of how I’ve felt for the last two days. Now imagine this: you’ve discovered the error, you’ve figured it out, but you’ve already now made extensive changes to an old draft, and it’s going to be almost impossible to turn back the clock and figure out what other changes should have been made to that draft before you started changing it in the first place. Sheesh.

Thankfully, Microsoft Word has a very nice “compare” feature, and with a bit of electronic wizardry, I’ve ironed it all out. All is right with the world, and I can continue on my edit in peace.

Sick of hearing about this yet? Well you’re in luck–I’m sick of writing about it. Have a nice rest of your Wednesday, all. Back to the editing room I go . . .

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