Boring Sleep

Posted on 01/06/2012


I am fascinated with something, but just can’t seem to make it compelling in my writing.  Probably because it’s boring as hell.

It’s the time before you fall asleep. That moment when you get into bed, curled up under the covers.

When I was a kid I used to use that time to let my imagination go (not in the way you think—pervert!) and pretend I was in some sort of dangerous situation and hiding from the bad guys. Or I was a traveler who found a small cove to sleep in. Or a survivor of a post-apocalyptic world where The Man was chasing me and I was sleeping in a sympathizers home. 


All kinds of stories! So it was my pretend time.  And I have been captivated by this idea ever since.  But, the thing is, going to sleep is perhaps the most boring time of a book.  When characters start getting ready for bed, and hunker down, the reader is like, “Okay, they’re going to sleep. Get them back into the action.”

I have written stories about some of the items I listed above, travelers, survivors sleeping in a strange place. People finding a hidden corner to sleep in. People sleeping in a giant room with hundreds of others. Lots of times.  But while writing it, I was thinking, “okay, this is boring.” And it is. Most writers just skip the entire getting to bed thing and simply write, “The next morning.”


I completely understand. It’s tough to add tension to a scene where your character is simply prone, not doing much but getting ready to fall asleep.  But it still fascinates me. It is one of my writing challenges to make that few minutes somehow compelling.


Do you have any parts of the day or your life that are fascinating to you, but you just can’t seem to add that same punch you really feel about it? Or am I just weird?

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