Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Pernoctation Sufferers Unite…

November 6, 2013

Pernoctation – definition: insomnia


Let’s have a show of hands, who’s not sleeping now we are into NaNo? Are the ideas coming thick and fast making sleep impossible? Or have they stalled, again making sleep difficult?

It is bizarre how both situations result in the same problem – sleeplessness. Let’s take them one at a time. Our mind becomes crowded with characters, plot lines and new stories often, it is a writer’s curse or blessing, depending on how you view it and at what time. Imagine you are just falling asleep and a story idea pops into your head. It is your best conception yet. You now have a choice – go to sleep hoping you remember it the next morning or you get up and write it down, knowing in your heart of hearts it will evaporate during the night.

The second situation is much more troubling. You have begun a narrative and it is flowing really well. You feel happy in its direction. Then suddenly you hit a stumbling block. These emerge in numerous ways, such as the character is not true to themselves, the plot crumbles, the perceived direction and outcome twist into something you are unsure of. What is the cure for this most dire condition? Actually, it could be a good night’s sleep – if you can stop your mind from worrying about the story.

We need to have the ability to shut off and relax. Our sub conscious can overcome the problem much better than our conscious mind, which is polluted with constant ‘what if’ and ‘maybe’ questions. Take a long hot bath or go for a walk or read a book in a different genre. Turn off the worry in whatever way you can. Step back and let the story mend itself in your mind.

I sympathize with insomnia sufferers because I have been there on many occasions for various reasons. Use your awake time constructively if you can. I wish you all a good day and a good night.

Do you have a cure or trick to get to sleep?

Excerpt from my current WIP…Comments welcome.

February 5, 2013

This character is Doze the Dormouse. The story is for children and is about woodland sprite’s that look after the forest animals.


Over the past few days Doze had managed to build up his nest with extra leaves and grasses, making a warm and comfortable place for his winter’s sleep. To one side he had buried a cache of hazelnuts and pushed more leaf litter toward the logs entrance in the hope it would deter intruders. The wind was icy cold when he crept out the following evening and he shivered. He resolved that it would be his last foraging expedition for the year. By morning he had eaten his fill and gratefully curled up, ready for a long winter’s sleep. Nestling into a tight ball, his feet tucked in to his belly and his nose buried in his fur, Doze closed his eyes and began slowly his heartbeat. A few moments passed then a few more then a lot more. Why wasn’t he drifting into a deep slumber? Doze moved his position and curled up again, closing his eyes even tighter and making himself breathe slower. After eight different positions and many, many moments he was annoyed and frustrated. Whatever is the matter with me? I never have a problem sleeping. Doze told himself to concentrate on slowing everything down, breathing, heartbeat and curling tighter into a furry ball. No matter what he tried sleep would not come and eventually he heard night creatures scurrying about above and around him.

“Well this will not do, winter is for sleeping.”

Thoroughly fed up with himself, Doze ran outside thinking one more meal might do the trick. Burying himself nose first into a pile of leaves he sniffed the forest floor debris for the scent of hazelnuts. He found a few that he quickly consumed and then continued on. Hidden by thick clouds the moon’s light did not touch the trails Doze raced over, if he dallied in plain view an owl could easily grab him. He had been foraging for quite some time when a big yawn overcame him. Happily he ran back to his nest, maybe the day’s wakefulness would help him sleep. Again he curled up tightly tucking his feet into his belly and slowed his breathing but sleep did not come although he yawned time and time again.  When he heard the chorus of morning, Doze felt totally defeated. However, would he get to sleep now? That was when he remembered the healer sprites. Maybe they could help him? Nervously, Doze crept out of his shelter looking side to side and upwards. It would be a long journey into the center of the forest but he did not have much choice.


I’ll keep writing and polishing this NaNoWriMo novel.

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