NeuroVont: A Study in Desperation
Gil A. Waters
There was a time in my life when creativity was its own reward. As a child, I filled notebook after notebook with poorly written prose simply because writing was enjoyable to an introspective and socially dysfunctional boy like me. I harbored fantasies of being a famous SciFi writer, but these fantasies were fun. They weren’t like adult fantasies in which you dread the thought of not living up to your dreams and having to settle for a second-rate life.
Unfortunately, the first couple decades of my adult life were spent abusing drugs and studying the social sciences, so I didn’t have time for “creative” writing. It was strictly academic non-fiction. Even when I finished grad school, I didn’t return to writing beyond what was required of whatever job I was performing at the time. Again, it was only non-fiction at its most dull and dry.
Then, something happened. I entered my 40s. My body promptly began to decay and I saw myself hurtling toward the half-century mark never having tried to become what I had long wanted to be: a writer. I was terrified. Scared existentially shitless. I would lay in post-op after thyroid surgery or spinal surgery and wonder what my creative legacy would be were I to die on the table during my next operation.
So I picked up notebook and pen and began sketching out a story that would eventually become “NeuroVont, Incorporated.” It is a SciFi Action tale replete with sex, drugs, violence, and disease. It is purposely written, for the most part, in the sparse and spare style of a screenplay. I wrote and re-wrote the story several times, then I emailed it to the publishers of a few on-line magazines. The only one to accept it was Vagabondage Press, which published it in the March 2009 issue of the Battered Suitcase.
But I wasn’t satisfied. My short story failed to bring me either wealth or fame, and I was getting even closer to 50. There seemed to be only one logical course of action: turn NeuroVont into a book and get it published. It took four years and an enormous quantity of marijuana to write NeuroVont-the-novel. I wrote at the office and at home and on the subway. I thought about the book every waking second, working through dialogue and plot points in my head. When I was finally done (or so I thought), I sent the manuscript to many publishers, all of whom rejected it.
Just as I was about to lose all hope, just as I was thinking about sinking to the level of self-publishing, I stumbled upon Montag Press, the editorial staff of which inexplicably liked my book and agreed to publish it. But first came an editorial process as painful as dental surgery. I was informed from the outset that at least a third of the book “didn’t work” and would have to be jettisoned and replaced. Many were the occasions I would receive an email from my editor along the lines of “great work on the revisions, but I think you should cut chapter six.” At which point I would struggle not to vomit and hyperventilate at the same time, before dutifully cutting chapter six and trying to fill the hole that left in the book. Because I had to get published. I had to be a real writer before I got any older.
And, so, NeuroVont, Incorporated was published in May of 2012, as both a paperback and an e-book. Now I confront a different kind of literary dilemma: microscopic sales. I’ve published a book, and next to no one is buying the fucking thing. But I’m doing my best to increase sales. I have to. In only a few short years I’ll be 50, and then it will be too late.
If you’d like to download the Kindle version of NeuroVont for free via MediaFire, or buy the paperback from Amazon, visit my website at http://gilwaters.com/blog/2012/10/19/free-kindle-version-of-neurovont-incorporated/.