Sleep-deprivation and characters

I’ve done it. Notably, I’ve just done it with my current hero, Klias. He’s sleep-deprived in a big way. And still, he handles stressful situations without a hitch. Not a single consequence from his lack of sleep.

Oops.

I’ve noticed it before in books I’ve read. Characters who haven’t slept in days and they still manage to function better than I do with my eight hours. When I don’t get enough sleep, I get crabby and cranky and grumpy…I’m pretty much miserable to be around. A couple of times, when I’ve had insomnia and I haven’t slept at all for a couple of days, I felt like the walking dead. Barely awake, barely able to function. Surprisingly, I was able to get through the day without killing myself or someone else but it was close.

I thought the less sleep I got, the worse I’d be able to function until, eventually, I’d be an eye-twitching, stuttering mess without the ability to tie my own shoes.

So, why how realistic is it for my character to run around in my story with only a couple of hours of rest and still be able to have a sharp mind and quick reflexes?

Skye Fairwin runs this amazing blog that mixes writing and psychology. I love it! Mostly because I’m nosy but also because I wondered just how realistic I was making Klias. As it turns out, most of us can still function with barely any sleep.

You still doubt? Well, here is the article. It’s truly neat because it has the real consequences of sleep-deprivation. Cool, huh?

Here is the site. Love it!

Now, I better head to my book and fix Klias’ reactions before his eye starts twitching…

Trauma in romance

We’ve all read stories where the hero or heroine had endured a traumatic childhood. In romance, the leads often shun therapy as adults yet, not only do they function well in society, they find happiness through their love interest. Is it realistic? Could the same person who watched their family get butchered by a serial killer when they were five become a productive member of society through sheer will? Wouldn’t there be some form of mental scars left over?

Likesbooks.com touches on this topic this week with the post “When strong is a stereotype” by Caroline AAR. I particularly liked the comment: “Ever-lengthening chains of sequels can lead authors to make each hero Stronger than the last, sometimes to the point that we no longer believe that such a scarred hero could have an HEA.”

In this post, Jenna Harper brings up a very good point about heroines in NA (new adult). “My fear is that sexual assault is being used as a writing crutch of sorts, a short-hand way for an author to accomplish one or multiple goals which have nothing to do with the issue of sexual assault at all. Rather, the assault is used as a way to establish or demonstrate character traits and then left on the wayside as the story progresses.”

Mental illness, PTSD, trauma and so on, is romance belittling a very serious topic? Are romance books treating trauma seriously enough?

On the other hand, it’s romance. We know it’s fiction when we open the book, we know there’s a HEA guaranteed and we know things have to work out. Does the book have to treat trauma with as much reality as real life? Would it sell if it did? Would we read it?

P.S. That’s not a selfie. That’s Sigmund Freud giving romance books a gimlet eye. 🙂