Title: THE UNDERAPPRECIATED ART OF NOT DYING
Category/Genre: Adult WF, OwnVoices
Word Count: 65,000
Is your main character hot or cold?
Leonie’s depression makes her run cold as ice.
Twenty-three-year-old Leonie has a respectable job at a Seattle law firm, a crappy 226 square foot “apartment,” and a list of five ways to kill herself. Today she crossed off four.
There’s nothing wrong with Leonie’s life. No great tragedies have befallen her. Hell, she’s never even been to a funeral. Yet depression strips her will to live as easily as a thumbnail might puncture the peel of an orange. But with the knife pressed to her wrist, she realizes bidding farewell to her crappy life isn’t as easy as she thought it would be.
Instead, she walks away from her job, breaks her lease, and gives away all of her belongings. Leonie books a one-way ticket out of the country in a last ditch effort to find happiness, but her search has an expiration date, and it coincides with the shrinking number in her bank account.
If Leonie can’t regain her will to live in the rainforests of Costa Rica, Amsterdam’s coffeehouses, or the wild, green hillsides of Ireland, it’s off the Cliffs of Moher she goes.
With the help of a businessman-turned-smelly masseuse, a Dutch prostitute, and a snarky yet infuriatingly hot Irishman, she may find that happiness, though precarious and elusive, is worth the battle.
First 250 words:
The rank fumes of someone’s—I can only assume to be radioactive—tuna lunch permeate the hallway, seeping into my cubicle just as I decide, yes, I am going to kill myself.
I don’t mean that in the God, if I have to go home with that cheap fish smell on my clothes one more time I’m going to blow my brains out kind of way. The two are mutually exclusive, completely unrelated.
Karen’s having tuna. I don’t want to live anymore.
I look down at my phone, scrolling through the never-ending Facebook feed once more—eternally searching for something to distract me from the monotony of my work. For the tenth time, my ex’s face fills the screen alongside the face of a woman I don’t recognize. A little heart pops up between them, declaring their newfound love. Scott Haring is now in a relationship with Vanessa McMahon.
I grind my teeth, hoping a few might break off and give me something to really suffer over.
Screw them and their stupid happiness. Good luck, Vanessa. I hope you have a good job, girl, ‘cause he sure as hell isn’t getting one.
I hit the like button before scrolling past the status update.
The shrill ring of my office phone pulls me from bitter thoughts. I squeeze my eyes shut, so tight that color blooms behind my lids. My hands are so heavy in my lap. I have to convince every cell from my right shoulder down to the pinky finger to lift, just lift, please.