Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I've been suffering from an unusual amount of anxiety lately, so much so that it's kept me awake at night. I thought I knew the causes. There were plenty of external influences to choose from, and I alternately blamed them as I struggled to sleep. Monday night, I slept for less than an hour. I kept getting up and doing things, reasoning that if I had one less task to worry about I'd be able to sleep easier. Writing crossed my mind, but it wasn't something that had to be done immediately, and I thought I was too tired to write coherently. 

Last night, when I couldn't sleep, I sat down and wrote. I'd left my character in a stressful situation on Saturday, and I wrote all the way through it's climax. As soon as my character neutralized the antagonist, the tension left my body. I slept better than I have in a long time.

It made me wonder how well Suzanne Collins slept while writing THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy.

Do you empathize with your characters?  


  1. I'm glad you had a good sleep last night. Nothing worse when you toss and turn and your thoughts are spinning. I'm on my last assignment for the writing course yay! :o)

  2. Ah... the mind is such a funny thing, isn't it? I find that I have to resolve things to sleep too, even if it is something mundane in my every day life, like dishes.

  3. Currently, I'm not very emotionally invested in my fiction (darn schoolwork). When I am, though, I do find myself feeling distressed or happy or confused when characters do. Usually it's subconscious, just like what you explained. Fortunately for me, I don't lose sleep about it!

    I actually think about my writing as I'm falling asleep every night. I've been doing it for so long that I think it's now what cues my brain to go to sleep--though when I started doing it, it was because it prevented me from staying up worrying about real life. Rather, I replaced life with a world I had complete control over.

  4. That's a great time but a bad time to resolve plot and character issues.

  5. So glad you got it resolved. One hour?? That's tough! I think you are amazing!

  6. Oh wow. That's a lot of empathy for your characters. I don't think I've lost sleep over them. Glad you figured that out!

    One hour! I would be crying, I think.

  7. Yes, Kayeleen, but I can let dishes slide sometimes.

    That sounds like a great idea, Q, and I'm glad it's not just me.

    I probably wrote it faster than I should have, Holly. I've been thinking of things I'll need to add when I revise.

    Thanks, Em. You ARE amazing.

    Kelly, this is the first time I've had a climax hit me like this, but I've never stopped writing one in the middle before.

  8. Can't answer this one, because I don't HAVE characters.


  9. No, I guess I don't really have empathy for my characters because I've never lost sleep over it. I'm an outliner though, so I know every scene before I start writing the rough draft, so maybe it's just enough to know how it's going to turn out in the end.

    I'm glad you got some good sleep!

  10. Ugh, insomnia stinks. I'm so sorry, Myrna. I'm glad you found a solution, though. Empathy is a good thing -- it will come out in your writing, and will make those missed nights of sleep worth it.


  11. Sue, you have some in your poetry, but you're probably not losing sleep over those.

    Susan, maybe Collins is an outliner as well.

    I hope so, Amy. That would totally make it worth the lost sleep.

  12. I haven't had any character-induced insomnia...yet. However, I stay up late writing when I should be sleeping. Like right now.I should be sleeping.