Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

Who Makes The Beds?

on April 5, 2013


The phone rings in the middle of the night.  The female detective reaches over, answers the phone and finds that there has been another murder.  She jumps out of bed, runs in the shower and prepares to fight for justice once again.  We follow her day; all kinds of suspects, all kinds of investigation techniques being implemented and possibly a few interrogations are thrown in.

After a exhausting day, she fixes dinner, has a glass of wine and prepares for bed. Donning jammies; she pulls back the covers and…WAIT A MINUTE!  Who made the bed?

I was making the third bed this morning: the master’s bed, the bed in the snoring room (my sinuses were especially active last night so I skedaddled from the master’s bedroom before I woke up the Bear!) and our son has visited for a week, so hence the third bed.  Suddenly it occurred to me, I rarely read about a hero or heroine taking this task in hand before they leave to conquer love, solve a mystery, or put a heinous villain behind bars.

Is this a chore deemed beneath the everyday heroes we read about?  I’ve noticed that some of them are filthy rich so I have no question that a maid, butler or cleaning woman tidies the bedroom each day in preparation for their employers return.

But every-day characters who live in modest surroundings and drive five-year old cars are basically on their own as far as bed maintenance is concerned.  There might have been a lover with the hero/heroine the night before; but I still haven’t read about them changing sheets and plumping the pillows before their departure!

So, do these characters think like my kids, who used to lament “But, Mom, I’m just going to back in it tonight!  Why make it now?”  Does the writer fail to describe how our heroes climb into wrinkled sheets, rumpled covers and lumpy pillows?

I have been accused of being a little compulsive when it comes to making the beds.  I don’t feel that the house looks clean unless all the beds in the house have been attended to.  Danny complains when he gets up in the early morning to use the bathroom and the bed is made upon his return.

He feels lucky I didn’t make it with him in it (I’ve tried, but it seems to wake him when I pull the pillow out from under his head.)  I have stayed in lovely hotels and made the bed before I left the room.

Now, in fiction, an unmade bed could be letting our readers know that our heroes are so dedicated that they care little about their own comfort.  But, the writer could at least let me know the bed is a mess when the hero climbs in. I know from experience that these sleeping units haven’t made themselves since the days of Samantha on “Bewitched!”

If there’s an overbearing mother; a lover looking to score points by leaving a beautifully made bed or a spouse doing their best to ensure the returning hero gets a good night’s sleep in a cozy, clean bed; let us know!

Sometimes, as my granny used to say, the devil is in the details!  As I’m learning more and more about writing a novel, I’m finding that leaving holes in our story weakens it.  We need to let our readers know how, when and where certain events come about; or why our characters feel, behave or react to other characters.  Otherwise, we leave them guessing.

Of course, my example is extreme..I doubt many readers besides myself wonders about the bed making skills of our heroes.  My point is that readers are smart and you must make sure you take the time to fill in the holes, don’t make the mistake of assuming they know your characters as well as you do.

So, when you’re writing your story, make sure you let your readers know your characters well, pay attention to the details and don’t leave them guessing “Who Made The Damn Bed?”

Just Saying!

24 responses to “Who Makes The Beds?

  1. My son lives on a special planet where beds are made, food is served and clothes washed an ironed. I’ll give him your NaNoWriMo novel when you’re done in 26(?) days, imagine his reaction when he finds out the truth about planet earth! Thanks for the writing tips and enjoy the camp.

  2. lellielieb says:

    I completely understand the obsession. I cannot stand getting into a rumpled bed. If something catastrophic happens and my bed does not get made during the day, I will make it before climbing in at night. It just needs to happen.

  3. One old rationale for making the bed every day . . . “In case we have company.” (huh?) Some days I make the bed. Some days I don’t – like when I have “nested” the pillows and comfy quilt to my liking on nights that I really slept well. The new night I want to slip in bed and start right where I left off!

  4. Sure does! It looks so comfy from the night before, that I just snuggle down and drift off to sleep. Now, the summer and hot weather will be totally different. I won’t have to make the bed because by then I will have stripped everything OFF of it! Easier to strip the bed than haul the sheets and blankets back off the floor every morning!

  5. 1tric says:

    Looking forward to reading your novel. I like your title. Enjoy your camp.

  6. keladelaide says:

    Nurses corners live here and I won’t leave the house until beds are made. Who knows who might break in?!

  7. Bastet says:

    Loved it…and love a made bed too. Since coming to live in Trentino, an ex-member of the Austro-Hungarian empire, I’ve discovered summer and winter down comforters with their lovely sacks (like a huge pillow case)…you smooth out the bottom sheet and pull the comforter up over your pillow with throw pillows to finish the deed…voilà…bed made in less then 5 minutes…but my son and husband still still say…”but who cares? You’re only going to pull it down anyway to go back to bed!” And who cleans the bathroom? is another question that comes to mind….

    • Comforters have definitely won over the old chenille bedspreads..cuts bed-making in half!

      • Bastet says:

        I could see your detective pulling the comforter up as she grabbed her shoes from beside the bed that morning…having a quick glimpse at the mirror and then running out the door…chenille bedspreads are such a bother. 😉

  8. btg5885 says:

    Great post. You reminded me of an old comment, “a man will never be shot while he is doing the dishes.” Have a great day and a clean, crisp bed made by someone else. BTG

  9. mcwoman says:

    What an interesting post! You’re right–characters in books NEVER make the bed. I’ll remember this post and consider having one of my characters do such a thing. I love your blog!

  10. Savax Blank says:

    I normally just leave my blankets scrunched against the wall so when I crawl into bed I just have to reach over and drag them over me…but I have /never/ thought about that! Wow, thank you! That is one more plot hole I can fix in my hundreds of stories…I will definickly keep an eye out for that…oh hey, plot hole sounds like pot hole…well, all the pot holes need to be fixed too…so anyway, thanks for the tip. ^^

  11. TamrahJo says:

    This is why I write – in fiction land, one need never make the bed, wash the windows or dust the furniture – – or use a toothbrush to carefully remove the dust from the vents in the car dashboard..
    I prefer clean, but lived in – I’m of the “Why make the bed when I’m just going to mess it up again?” train of thought –
    The only exception is on laundry day, when the sunshine-infused sheets and pillowcases are lovingly arranged and properly tucked, fluffed and straightened.
    Because of my view, I truly try not to laugh when I hear the ‘reasons’ why I should make my bed every day – Nothing against you fine, organized souls – but I don’t come up with reasons to convince you NOT to make your bed….

  12. In the real world I can’t concentrate without making my bed. I have a “Messy Bed – Messy Head” mentality. You make an excellent point about bed making in novels. I’m sure to be on the lookout for this omitted task now. 🙂

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