my copy disappeared! Please help!

I downloaded current beta yesterday, wrote a complete first chapter, which is now displaying as solid black blocks the size of the paragraphs.

please help!

Try selecting your text and clicking Format>Highlight>Remove Highlight. I haven’t seen this lately, but there used to be a bug with text sometimes getting this black highlight, usually if something was copied in from another program–was any of your text pasted in from elsewhere? Even if it didn’t look odd at the time, there’d be a weird hidden formatting that would spread through and cause everything to be highlighted next time you opened the project. So that would definitely be the first thing to try.