Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

October 13, 2010

Bringing them to life

I have some characters. They have names. They have children, houses, issues. They have quirks. They have a beginning, most of a middle and a definite end.

They live in my mind and I am trying to bring them slowly to life on the page. During the daytime they are quite neglected. Totally neglected most days to be honest.

In the evenings I think about them a lot and occasionally visit them and breathe a little more life into their imaginary bones – letter by letter, word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page by carefully crafted page. Occasionally they get my complete and undivided attention for a whole, entire hour and then we’re really off and running, until I realise I’m exhausted or someone wakes in their sleep and needs me, and I have to abandon my characters again.

And they wait.

And I wait.

And as soon as I go to bed and switch off the light, they spark into life. They speak dialogue to me, offer me interesting twists and turns in their lives; offer solutions to plot dilemmas. I occasionally switch the light back on and scribble a few illegible notes on my diary – hoping I’ll be able to decipher them in the morning. I often wonder if I should just get up, turn the PC back on and start writing. But I’m knackered and have to be up soon to coax sleepy children out of their beds and coax breakfast into them and face the madness of another day - so I encourage my characters to go back to sleep and tell me more in the morning.

Unfortunately, just like my children, they are tough to wake the next day. I have to nudge them and nudge them to wake up as I sit patiently at the PC; the house quiet for a few rare hours, but they are hesitant. They shy away. Eventually, they stir and we’re off again; more words and more pages as I breathe more life into them. And then I glance at the clock and realise I am cutting it very fine to collect a child or other from somewhere or other, so I abandon my characters and hope they’ll wait for me. Again.

We will get there. I am determined to bring them fully to life in a complete manuscript. But it’s a bloody frustrating journey!
If you are a writer, please read these two amazing posts about the joy and frustration of writing from Marketing to Milk and Rebecca at Ramblings of a Rusty Writer.



  1. Oh my God this is exactly how I feel (except it has all gone out the window since I discovered god-damn blogging!)

  2. Love this blog HCM, it's so nice to hear someone else is in same boat. Very impressed you get some of your thoughts down on actual paper though, you must get so little sleep.

  3. Just a minute... did you say your children were difficult to wake?

  4. Fair play to you HCM.. I am sitting here with a glass of red wine after a full on day with the kids too knackered to blog let alone write a novel!

  5. Lovely post. I admire you for trying in the first place, with so little time to spare. Good luck with it!

  6. Love this post!!
    I am writing mostly at night, after everybody has been fed, the husband has switched on the telly and I am left to myself with only a glass of wine in the kitchen. 2 hours at night are like 6 hours during the day for me. You should try it. Maybe set yourself a limit, i.e. at what time do you want to go to bed the very latest?

    You might know this already, but this method has helped me to line it all out: Now all I have to do is write :)

    Good luck!! x


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