I’m a mama. Yes, my babies are soooo not babies anymore, but I remember the nightly rituals. “Mom, close the closet door.” “Mom, can you look under my bed?” We even made ‘Monster Repellent,’ a blend of lavender and water to spritz around their rooms. “Mom, turn that scary doll around.” Oh, yeah, we, including me, do not like cray-cray porcelain dolls. They all remind me of that creepy Annabelle doll. No and nope. The fact is I am still, after all these years, afraid. We all have our monsters and boogeymen. Real or not fear is FEAR.
Once we recognize our fears, we now have to figure out how to draw that image with words. This emotion is not foreign to any of us. Some claim that they aren’t afraid of anything. Yea, right. All they are saying is they have the ability to physically control their responses to whatever it is that strikes a nerve. Good for you friend. Me? I have a far more physical response. The Hubs thinks it’s hysterical, but I have also witnessed him in total panic. It’s funny in hindsight but at the moment…not so much.
Wanna know the fear I have right now? Okay, brace yourself…no coffee. OMG! Say it ain’t so! It’s cool. I just bought more a few days back. Come on- let’s go fill that sad, empty cuppa and grab a nibble. I am having an everything bagel with cream cheese. Yummers. Don’t worry, I will hit the walking trails later today to work off some of those calories. They will be worth it. Get your coffee, a nibble, and don’t forget your copy of Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood and meet us on the reading rug. We are on page 54. Tuck in. Hold your friend’s hand if you are, you know, spooked.
Did you ever sit around a campfire, or in a circle at a slumber party and tell scary stories? If you have then you have the ability to write those stories. What you have to add are the physical responses to the story. Is your character shaking, sweating, tucking behind a closet door, crouching behind the sofa? Did their heartrate pick up, breathing fast, eyes dart around looking for a way out?
To write this correctly you have to dig down and admit your own fears and how you respond. I am a squealer. I yelp and jump back before I am able to pull myself together. Run? If I could, I would. Cold sweat and B.O. Check and check. Hey, don’t judge. I am SHOWING you MY physical responses to large spiders. Yup, I lived in Oklahoma many moons back and tarantulas were the norm. Like, crawling on the walls in the hallway. Freaked me out! Next to those were scorpions. Did you know they traveled in pairs? If you see one there is another not too far away. I spent a lot of time scared out of my wits so I can write this without issue.
Remember- show the fear don’t tell me your character is shaking, afraid, or a scaredy-cat. That’s not showing me anything. It is telling me the writer was lazy.
Another way fear surfaces are mentally. It is fearing your family are safe, your job is stable, your car will make it to your destination, and you have enough money to buy groceries. This is a real, palpable emotion. This is the fear that makes a character cry, drink, pace, and hunch over their desk crunching numbers. Don’t forget the power of mental fear in a story.
- Make a list of physical responses to fear. Do some research and build a strong list of options.
- Pick a topic that you are scared of and write about it. Add your physical and mental responses.
- One morning I was coming out of my bedroom when my oldest stopped me in the doorway. She held up her hand and bid that I wait a minute. Being the mama, I wanted to know what she and her sister were up to. I began questioning her actions when my husband came down the hall with a large bowl and slowly lowered it over a very large, very hairy tarantula that was on the wall just inches from my head. He scooped up the spider and took it outside to release it. He had the nerve of placing that bowl in my sink to be washed and used. He actually thought I would use that bowl again. Ha! No.
- Write that story or something like it.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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Universal Code for O-B*tch-uary: https://books2read.com/u/bOZe8o
Universal Code for Sin Full: http://books2read.com/u/m2Vdqd
Author Page: amazon.com/author/nellawarrent