Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Are you Afraid?
It's blog chain time and this time Kat brought us a question perfect for Halloween:
What are the primary fears that drive your characters? Do they battle aliens or gangsters or monsters? Or do they battle unreconciled issues in their lives? Which do you prefer writing about? What do you fear?
Okay, so fear. I think most writers would admit to having some pretty big fears, because it kind of goes hand in hand with that whole overactive imagination thing. It does not, in my case at least, take a lot to get that imagination going either. A horror movie will do it - actually I just can't sit through horror movies anymore - I literally shake and cower during the suspenseful parts, cover my eyes entirely during the gory sections, and for days afterward have trouble walking into dark rooms. Or a news article about a dry drowning can make me even more neurotic than ever about letting my son anywhere near a swimming pool.
Now with my own fears, I use my worrying almost as a neurotic type of shield - like it will keep all the bad things that I imagine away. Or I try to find actual physical ways to make life safer - whether that consists of making sure the doors are locked at night (Actually this is my husband's job, but sometimes if I hear a funny noise outside I'll ask him, "did you make sure you locked the doors?" Sometimes, if I'm feeling especially nervous I'll put in a request for him to double check. For the record, he does not seem to appreciate this.) or putting some padded foam onto a sharp counter corner in the kitchen (I actually just did this today - my son kept banging his head on it, and I didn't want it to get to the point where he banged it so hard he needed stitches or lost an eye. Yes, I know. I really am neurotic.)
However, my characters are not so lucky. There are no locked doors or safe foam corners for them. As soon as I know what my characters fear most, then I know exactly what will happen to them.
Fear of fire? Grab some matches.
Arachnophobia? Bring on the mutant spiders. A
fraid you'll turn into your mother? Then it's time for some Freaky Friday action.
Whether the fears are internal or external I want to be constantly nudging my characters towards the edge of the cliff, until there's nowhere to go but down... and then I found out how they deal with falling.
So, what do you fear? What do your characters fear? And do you push your characters towards their fears too?
And for more blog chain fun you can find Rebecca's post before mine and Amanda's directly after.