To Dream, Perchance to @#$%! Sleep, Already

Grinch alert! I'm working, for the fourth day running, on about four hours or so of restless, broken sleep. Why? Because this darn book won't let me.

I often have this problem near the book's end, when I'm mentally struggling to solve the 8,213 inconsistencies, blunders, and question marks of the story. And to do it while bearing down on a tough deadline. And, oh, yes, to write a book that at least measures up to the last, if not (I pray) exceeding it. I also want to finish early enough to get critique partner (Bless you, Saints Bobbi & Joni) feedback and edit before sending the book to my editor. (I'd like to keep up the illusion that I'm as brilliant as the two of them make me look.) I usually ask a "cold reader" (known here at St. Jo Anne), who knows knowing of the story, read it through after these edits as well, to make sure the mystery element holds, since it's hard to do that for anyone who's read the synopsis. (Though I'll say now: nanny-nanny boo, boo! I changed the villain!)

Aside from that, during the last stretch, I put off everyday things. Such as cleaning my dust-clotted house, paying bills, riding herd on my teenager's tendency to procrastinate, and - oh, yes, there's the dreaded "C-word." You may know it as Christmas around your house. But then, you might have a tree up, tasteful decorations, and a fleet of wrapped gives already to go on the big day.

It would be uncharitable, as well as a hallmark of sleep deprivation rather than my basic, usually-laid-back (I hear you laughing! And it's not nice) personality, to say that if this is true, I hate you for it.

The best thing about deadline stress-induced insomnia is that my mind really does work through the problems in some amazing ways, probably because I'm #$!* hallucinating by now from the lack of decent rest. I wrote a spooky scene yesterday that scared the heck out of me, and as for the climatic scenes, I came up with something pretty darned diabolical. The saints (and of course, my editor) will let me know if it all works or if it just comes out looking liking an acid-flashback to an old Adam-West Batman episode. (Click the link for a fun blast from the past!)

Meanwhile, thank goodness for caffeine, critique partners, and an understanding bed-partner (or two - and yes, I'm referring to the dog!)


Suzan Harden said…
LOL - Just please don't be having acid flashbacks at your signing tomorrow, Colleen. I've been talking you up to non-writing friends.

(But then, it may blend in with the stereotype of the tortured writer...)
Thanks for talking me up, Suzan! And I'll be sure to be on my best behavior! I love coming out of my cave, and I loved Murder by the Book and signing with a pal (Christie Craig), so it shouldn't be too tough.

Though a nap or two before then wouldn't go amiss. :)
Joni Rodgers said…
Hang tough, Colleen. And knock 'em dead at MBTB tomorrow!
Thanks for the good wishes... and wa-ZOO, I finally got a good night's sleep last night. Obsessively checked off a portion of my to-do list yesterday, fixed some nagging problems in the manuscript that allowed me to move on, and cleared the way for my favorite: forward motion into the book's climax.

Looking forward to the signing and to dinner afterward.
Kathy Bacus said…
I just finished up a five day hosework takes a holiday, late-night-little sleep-am I making any sense at all revision nightmare yesterday,so I feel your plug-those-holes and beef-up-that-conflict pain, Colleen. And losing power right in the middle of revisions due to a freak ice storm didn't help matters. (I posted pictures of my poor apple tree that toppled over in my back yard on the Killer Fiction Writers' blog)

Have a great time at your book-signing--and don't you and Crime Scene Christie get into too much mischief!
The power outage sounds terrible in the midst of revision madness. Maybe you should've put your triplets on a treadmill. :)

Good luck to you!

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