How To Tell If You’re Burning The Candle At Both Ends

Sometimes, the word fairy takes vacation.

image via flickr commons via Tony Waghorn

MY WORD FAIRY                                                                 image via flickr commons via Tony Waghorn


When the fickle little trollop leaves me, she never gives the courtesy of a two-week notice.  Here one minute – then poof!  Gone.  It must be a Fairy Union thing, another example of collective bargaining processes gone wild.

I pressed on.  Mind you, this isn’t an issue of simply putting words into the magic keyboard word machine.  Let me give an example…

One of the last things I do after finishing (which includes edits, rewrites, more edits, and fits of rage, and then more edits) a manuscript is writing the synopsis.  Writing a novel is a pleasure.  Writing a synopsis is torture.

image via flickr commons via anguskirk

WHERE THE SYNOPSIS HAPPENS                                   image via flickr commons via anguskirk

There is a special circle in Hell for the person who devised the synopsis.  It is purely a mechanism to inflict pain, emotional distress and feed the writer’s garden of self doubt.

image from flicker creative commons via pedro presihla

image from flicker creative commons via pedro presihla

I liken the experience to shoving five pounds of ripe chicken droppings into a delicate five ounce, lace pouch.  The story doesn’t fit, it leaks, spills out in chunks and begins to smell.  A 90,000 word story condensed into 1,000 words or less.  What could go wrong.

So, off I went a writing, without the spiritual guidance of the Word Fairy.  The condensing, vacuum packing and teasing out of the good bits happened.  A mini-me version of my novel began to appear on the screen.  After a basketful of hours, a synopsis was born.  Angels sang and rainbows appeared.

Then.  It.  Happened.

I tried to save the document.

It wouldn’t save as the name I’d chosen (title synopsis.doc)

What the Hell?

The magic word box said I already had a file by that name.  What?

It couldn’t be possible.  I just finished the damn thing.

So, I opened the mystery file.  There, before me was a synopsis, one I wrote THREE MONTHS AGO.

I don’t remember writing it.

The good news is that both versions of the synopsis ended the same way.

I’m taking this as a sign that I’ve been burning the candle at both ends.  The light is bright, but it burns out fast.

image from flicker creative commons via wes peck

image from flicker creative commons via wes peck

Time to take a breather…


  1. I’m curious: which version did you like better?

    1. Hi Diane…and that is a great question. I used most of the second version with a couple of snippets from the earlier forgotten version.

      1. So “the fickle little trollop” did show up 🙂

      2. The fickle little trollop may be peeked in, just for a bit.

  2. stephanie710 · · Reply

    Great post. I haven’t reached the synopsis, yet. Why do I now feel like I will have visions of your rage when I *try* to write mine? LOL Good stuff, my friend and get some rest. Your novel AND synopsis will be top shelf. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence Stephanie! I’m just happy the two synopsis versions seemed like they came from the same novel. Your’s will probably spill out smoothly – just keep the Word Fairy on a short leash.

  3. […] How To Tell If You’re Burning The Candle At Both Ends […]

  4. You’re so right about writing a synopsis – ugh. It’s right up there with the three minute “elevator” pitch, the bio and blurbs! Jan

    1. Oh, the elevator pitch. It seems everyone wants off when I start that little beauty.

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