Monday, November 19, 2012

Conquering Fears

Everyone has fears. Lots of people, including myself, are afraid of spiders and snakes. (Has anyone seen the Huntsman Spider from Australia - it's HUGE!). And snakes are just slithery creatures that I would prefer to leave alone. I have a friend who is afraid of clowns, and another who loves demented clowns - I hope they never meet. For some reason my six-year-old great nephew has decided that flowers are scary - maybe a bee stung him, no one really knows.

The fact of the matter is that everyone has something that creeps them out. Remember the scene in Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom when Kate walks into the cave filled with big black crunchy crawling bugs? In a gauzy outfit and slippers, ICK! Give me a pare of army boots and full body armor, please. But it was a great way to up the tension in an already exciting story.

We authors harvest our fears and the fears of others to make our stories deep and promote an emotional reaction. Alarm. Agitation. Danger. Dread. Apprehension. All these promote feelings in the reader - and guess what, the author also.

I started writing a thriller once, thinking it would be fun and exciting. It turned out that it made me so tense I couldn't write. There are just some places I can't go in my imagination - it's much too vivid. Authors who can write about things that go bump in the night without staying up wide-eyed as a result are admirable. I guess I'm not very brave.

Why did I write about fear right before Thanksgiving? I have no clue, since we'll be traveling to be with family and having a great time. It's just amazing where the thoughts of an author go when you let them.

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday! (And don't be afraid to eat too much, especially if you can sleep in on Friday.)
P.S. Since I'll be cooking I may not respond to your comments as quickly as normal. For that I apologize and hope that you will comment anyway. I'll check as soon as I can.


Jacqueline Seewald said...


Stephen King once wrote an article for The Writer about how to create a good horror story. He said to dig into your darkest fears. Usually they are common to all of us. I myself have many fears and phobias. I've used some of them to create realistic horror and suspense stories.

bdtharp said...

Hi Jacqui,Thanks for the comment. Digging into your darkest fears is sometimes hard to do, but definitely worth the effort when you're a writer. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you too! I'll soon be on my way out to do some more shopping for the holiday. I'll mention one thing regarding fear. My daughter-in-law's sister and her husband each gave up well-paying jobs, took their two sons, and embarked on an around the world year long tour. They are visiting out of the way unusual places and blogging about it. The trip is full of thrills as well as hardships. I am living their experiences vicariously knowing I would be afraid to do what they are doing. My fears keep me fixed physically in one place. However, my imagination roams free!