Frantic phone calls to Apple, and then to the local store, both came up empty.
It could have been worse. But it also could have been so much better. I've learned, thanks to all those who commented on my Facebook page, that I can have the Word program create a backup file each time I add to it. And, who knew I had a Time Machine on my laptop? Always wanted one of those.
It's a horrible way to learn a hard lesson, but I'm glad I had an older version of the story, so I didn't lose it all. I'm back to where I was three weeks ago, going through Lori's notes again. As I read through it, though, I'm remembering things I'd added in over the past few weeks, so maybe it'll come out better than it originally was.
This story probably won't be ready when I originally estimated it would be. But having a setback of a month or so is not so bad, considering the learning experience this has been. I will use the backup file, figure out the Time Machine, and email copies to myself. Overkill is better than losing the file. I'm sure there are others out there who forget about backing up your work, so this is a cautionary tale. As I told a friend, it's like closing the barn door after the horse escapes. I hope this never happens to any of you.