Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Moment #98: a writing prompt for your work-in-progress

(If you’ve already read this then skip past all the italicized blah-di-blah and start writing.) Monday Moments are writing prompts for your work-in-progress. They are questions that come from my experiences and are my favorite way to find out more about my characters. I find I learn a lot. Some of it I use. Some of it I don’t. But I always, always get to know my characters better just by answering the question. I hope you do too.)

The sleeping hours. Aren't they wonderful?

Well, yes! That is, if you're actually sleeping.

Don't you just hate it when you wake up in the night, for whatever reason, and can't go back to sleep? For us adults we tend to have to-dos, or too-much-to-dos, on our minds. You they there. Flip over. Keep thinking. Think of something else. Flip over. Check the clock. Been an hour. Flip again. Replay the list. Check the clock. And on, and on, and on...

But remember how different it was as a kid? At least it was for me. I certainly wasn't playing to-do lists in my head.

What was playing instead? My imagination!  In dark-scary-night- imagining ways. For me, every nighttime noise, familiar or not, was something frightening. I still recall one night when I heard scraping on my ceiling, slow and constant. And loud. Right above me. Now I'm sure that it was a mouse, doing it's mouse thing, but in  my scared-kid-nighttime brain, it was a scary guy in my attic digging through the ceiling with an ice pick. Yes, I was sure it was an ice pick. I still recall nights when I'd hold tight to the pillow just under my head with one arm and my favorite blanket with the other, just in case I was taken during the night and held captive in a cave. This way I wouldn't have to use a rock as a pillow.

I was a normal kid, I swear. But perhaps the nighttime stories I freaked myself out with were some of the first signs that I'd one day become a writer. Do you think?

What does your character think about when they wake up in the middle of the night? What kinds of nighttime noises do they hear?

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