The Early Bird Catches the Worm

Since the loss of my son in May last year, I haven’t slept well. At first, I would be lucky to get two hours sleep each night, however, now I’m getting around five to six hours sleep. At least this number of hours helps me function…almost. I still have concentration and memory problems, but generally I’m doing OK.

In this time, I’ve discovered that no matter what time I go to bed, I will always be awake between 6 and 6.30am. I find that if I head off to bed early, in the hope of getting an extra hour or two sleep, I’m disappointed as I actually sleep less. So I’ve taken to going to bed later and, thankfully, I sleep much more soundly.

On a work night, I’ve been going to bed at 11pm and on the weekend (Friday and Saturday nights) I usually go to bed at midnight – well, it is the weekend and I am a big girl now.

This means, of course, there’s no more sleeping in. During the week it doesn’t matter because I have to get up and go to work, but on weekends it used to be nice to spend an extra hour or two in bed. It doesn’t matter. I’ve developed a new habit, which I quite enjoy. I get up with the birds, make myself a cup of tea and then climb back in bed and read, write or plan. I usually stay in bed until 9am, so this is giving me almost 3 hours of uninterrupted work time. And strangely, my focus is better at this time too.

Having had my five or six hours of sleep, I feel refreshed and alert. It’s usually lovely and cool at this time of the morning, so I’m not distracted by feeling uncomfortable either. And, because everyone else is asleep, it’s peaceful and quiet. I love this new habit. Needless to say, this is when I’m getting most of my work done. It’s a pity work interrupts that schedule during the week.

This morning, having finished the Cat’s Eyes final revision last night, I made the cup of tea and climbed back into bed, but I didn’t know what I would do. I decided to go through and update my notes…and discovered something.

I am sexist!

I wrote in my notes that the female main character’s (from my fantasy world) mother died in childbirth. OK, that’s fair enough. It happens. That’s when I noticed that the other main character didn’t have a mother either. Neither did the cousin, or his henchmen. The councillors are male. The servants are male. Every other character in the book is male. There’s not another female character in sight.

Something needs to be done about this. Book 1 – Cat’s Eyes – is fine how it is. This book is from the point of view of a human girl and the story doesn’t take the reader into the middle of the community for the fantasy world. However, book 2 – Cat’s Paw – is quite different. It is set in the fantasy world, right in the thick of the people. It is also from the book of view of one of their people, so I really need to take a look at the female population. I mean to say, if there are no females, there is no population.

My male main character, who is the point of view character in book 2, needs a mother. I guess this means I will have to create one for him. Also, the council will find at least two females shoving a couple of the males out of their chairs and taking up residence.

Something tells me that the first edit for Cat’s Paw is going to turn into a rewrite. *groan*

6 thoughts on “The Early Bird Catches the Worm”

  1. Yeah, I think I can sometimes fall into this habit of keeping an almost all male cast.

    And considering my political leanings, this is a bit startling and I need to turn this around.

    I’ve heard this a lot from a lot of writers.

  2. I realized the same thing when I was setting my cast of characters for the YA novel I’m working on. The main character was female, but all of her companions were male! I quickly remedied that and tried to keep it in mind as the book progressed as well, trying to keep a balance. But it’s strange that we have to consciously remember to do that, isn’t it?

  3. Women often seem to get the raw end of the deal in fantasy. I always liked Ian Irvine’s novels, more often than not it’s the women saving the men.

  4. I think it’s great you are able to recognize your problems with sleep and use them to your advantage rather than fight against them. 3 hours of uninterrupted work time is definitely a good thing.

  5. I had the same problem with my world of Eien, back in 2005. I do have major female characters in it, but they were the Gey Eminence type–very important, powerful, intelligent, just… pulling the strings from behind the scenes, and the reader wouldn’t even know they exist before long! I think that’s when Kittin started to nag at me to be in the story, so I let her in. *lol* She’s not the most feminine character ever seen, she can be just as bad as her mal comrades, but if there’s one thing I don’t regret, it’s her presence in the story. She fits in pretty well.

    In any case, I hope you can put enough of a “female cast” to your liking in the story. As long as it doesn’t seem artificial, it should be all good. 🙂

  6. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who suffers from this. I’ve since fixed the problem and I’m sure the story will be better because of it (without seeming artificial). 😀


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