Downward Facing Narcoleptic

The sun is missing, today. The rain has come down for hours, steady at times, drizzling at others. The wind is whipping through my opened windows, bringing into my office the day’s odd mix of warm humidity and chill breeze. I’m at my desk, staring at the screen with dry, scratchy eyes that are reluctant to stay open.

I’ve been working on my manuscript again, trying to trim it down before the next round of submissions. At this point, I think my generous word count is harming my efforts to secure an agent. So, I’ve begun another death-march through my work, killing as much as can be killed without harming the storyline. So, far, I’ve lobbed off a good seven thousand words. That takes me down to 155,000. A monster, still, I know, but a much smaller one than when I first started out. There are forty more chapters to go, and I’m hoping to make it under 149,000 by the end.

While necessary, this work is wearing on my mind. Everything is a second guess. Each word seems a weak substitute for a more brilliant, wildly elusive turn of phrase. The repetitiveness of the lines–lines I almost know by heart–and the endless stretches of white screen punctuated by little black symbols are having a soporific effect on me. I’m halfway between breakdown and shutdown, and struggling to stay awake.

I’ve made peppermint tea to stimulate my mind. I’ve gotten up and thrown punches at nothing. I’ve chased the cats around the house. I’ve tried downward facing dog to promote blood circulation in my brain. All I’ve managed to do is: 1) make myself run to the bathroom every six minutes, 2) pull something weird–and probably crucial–in my arm, 3) tripped over my fuzzy yellow raver slippers and nearly wiped out on the coffee table, and 4) shown my ass to the squirrel at the bird feeder. Despite all this rousing activity, I’m still sleepy.

Oh, wait. The water delivery guy is here. Well, that ought to keep me up for another five minutes. After that, I’m hitting the caffeine.

About Avery

I am a roller derbying, dark fantasy author. This blog chronicles my adventures in life, writing and skating. View all posts by Avery

11 responses to “Downward Facing Narcoleptic

  • Steve Malley

    Ouch. We all know those nights, but the work does improve as a result. I hate to say it, but anything over 120k (or under 70k) word count is generally considered death if you’re not already established. Apparently, over 120k, the printing costs become prohibitive, as does the ‘weight factor’: shoppers picking up a big heavy volume by a name they don’t know and putting it back down again. Under 70k, the book looks too thin, or too padded-out, to seem like a good deal. At least with fantasy, you’re safer on the heavy side, but I know that’s going to be a lot of painful cutting…Sorry.

  • avery

    The story has fallen to the wayside in the face of my push to get the novel to respectable size. It’s always the little stories that suffer…

  • Christina

    Did you moon the wildlife? lol. I hope you are working on that short story you let me read. I think it’s great. I know you are busy, so keep up the hard work!

  • Avery

    Sqt — That’s what I’m here for: cheap squirrely thrills.I’d tell you to try not to focus so much on where you need to go and instead think of where you are, but that’s some preachin’ I need to be practicing. I tend to view my life as one big mental checklist.

  • SQT

    Aw hell. At least the squirrel got something to look at. I haven’t finished a book yet, so I’ve got even further to go. Waaaaay further. The squirrels will be tired of my ass before it’s all said and done.

  • Avery

    Lana and Charles — I’m sorry I blew right by you two. I thought I’d already commented to you guys. Lana — If it were the creative process, I’d agree with you 100%. But, there is no better mood when I’m wringing out every excessive word or phrase from my manuscript. Charles — Bored. Yes! Bored. Bored. Bored.

  • Avery

    RRN — That song sounds like “The Rodeo Song.” I’d write it out, but it’s long and much better with the fake Texas accent. But, two of the three lines you listed are in it.No worries about the language. If you could only hear me talk… My momma’s so proud.And, thanks for the compliments. The ego needs feeding once in a while. 😉

  • RRN

    Sorry for my foul language. It just happens.

  • RRN

    Pretty intense. I’m not sure what to offer here….Have you tried Tai Chi? Water Polo maybe ? ha.I don’t think it is good to force certain things. You write what you write…regardless…You are a hell of a writer…..and seem to be a super cool individual as well. I think it is best to make certain you love it…Honestly love it. Love it the way you see it…Not some other jackasses that make livings judging other peoples stuff(no offense jackasses). Is this making sense or just sounding insulting. I don’t know. I worked in a horrible restaurant when I was younger. A line cook there , who I ever only knew as ‘Skolley’, alwasy used to tell me this…. “Ryan….Fuck em if they can’t take a joke.” He also used to always sing me this song….””GET OFF THE STAGE/YOU PISS ME OFF/FUCKIN JERK/””Skolley had some pretty rough drug problems and some slight mental issues… But I always felt like he understood things the rest of us never will.I hope this helped in some way.Oh , also…I loved the 2nd to last paragraph here. You are a true master. So cool. and this… “”I’m halfway between breakdown and shutdown, and struggling to stay awake. “” ~~~ When art meets business…Things start get fun.

  • Charles Gramlich

    I remember such periods in my own writing. Homicidal. Suicidal. These words describe the feeling. Bored with it and wanting to get onto the next one is perhaps more accurate. And yet it has to be done.

  • Lana Gramlich

    Maybe you need to put the manuscript away until you’re in a better mood for it. When I force myself to paint, I rarely approve of the outcome.

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