In 1997, I started college. Living away from home for the first time was a game-changer. As much as I enjoyed the time I spent with my new friends and neighbors, I wasn’t able to socialize all the time. That’s why I spent some time in the dorm computer lab, essentially a closet with a pair of ancient computers. Over the course of that year, I wrote a novel called Life Is Pain.
Eventually, I went to revise the novel, since I liked the story. My only copies were on 3.25″ disks and my computer died, leaving me without a way to look at the old version.
It was a scorched earth scenario.
So, with no book to revise and a desire to revisit and improve the story, I had one choice.
I had to write it again. Everything, from the beginning to the end. All from memory. There weren’t even darlings to kill, they were already dead. The fire of improving technologies burned through my data access, leaving me to tighten the plot and story by starting over.
I went to the keyboard and typed. I made sure I had more modern ways to access my files. I took characters that were cultural references before and gifted them with motivation and nuance.
A demon with a pumpkin head and black robes becomes a man in a white suit who loves to smoke. A vampire is set aside. A man with super speed is added.
The title Life Is Pain goes away. It was pretentious. A new title takes its place, Mind & Machine. Like a machine, the story, characters, and plot are rebuilt from the ground up.
All is not lost. I still have my story, only it’s so much better now, enough where I show it off to agents and editors.