• Jessica Sherry

7 Story Writing Prompts on Bed-Making

Does your character make her bed in the morning?

Maybe it seems like a dumb, unnecessary question... I mean, come on, you can't know EVERYTHING about your character, even if you created her.

To that, I say HOGWASH! Every little thing you know about her contributes to the bigger picture. Besides, whether or not she makes her bed says a lot about her! Geez!

The idea comes to me courtesy of a great book called, ha, you guessed it, Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven. In it, he explains the life lessons he's learned in his military career as a Navy Seal. The first one is to always make your bed because no matter how awful your day will be--and you'll have some very tough ones--returning to a made bed offers a small sense of accomplishment.

P.S. This book makes an excellent gift, so... and I'm not getting paid to say that.

Even before reading the book, I've been a bed-maker since adulthood. I hate the feeling of getting into an unmade bed at night. It makes me feel like I haven't met my most basic daily goals. Plus, an unmade bed feels messy, rumpled, and getting into it isn't as comfortable.

You might think that this pet peeve makes me an uptight perfectionist. There's truth in that. I like things the way I like them and that's it.

What could your MC's bedroom habits say about her? Let's unpack some questions...

  • Does she make her bed?

  • Is her bedding simple or complicated? I have sheets, pillows, and a comforter--simple. Some people like a lot of decorative pillows, bedskirts, matching curtains, etc.

  • If she doesn't bother with the bed but would like to, is it because she's always rushed? Is her unmade bed a symbol for her disorganized life? Is it shameful to her?

  • Or does she refuse to care? Maybe she has more important things in her life to bother with bedding. Or maybe she's too easy going to give herself a hard time about it.

  • What did her parents make her do? Maybe she grew up in a military household and her parents' strictness about bed-making has turned her into a non-bed-maker. Or maybe her household was disorderly, so she made her bed to have control over something.

  • How does she react to visitors who see her bedroom habits?

  • If she makes her bed, does that mean she's a neat-freak? If she doesn't, is she a slob? How does it reflect her attitude toward the rest of her home?

See? It's not such a simple question anymore. Examining your character's small habits adds texture to your story and builds a better relationship with your reader.

Here's more info on the psychological aspects of bed-making, perfect for amping up your character profiles.

Don't lie down on your writing job (get it?)... get to brainstorming, writing, and, sharing your insights below! Check out more of my coffee-fueled brainstorming at www.coffeebrained.com.