Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blog Chain - The F-Word

No! It's not that. Get your mind out of the gutter. Kat picked the topic this round and I must say, pretty appropriate as we near Halloween. She asked the question:

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?

I think that this topic is a nice chaser to the last chain regarding physical and emotional journeys. In my first book, Aura, my MC battles her internal fear of losing control. She doesn't like the idea of not being in charge, and her developing abilities send her tightly woven life into a tailspin. I think that I used my own fears as a road map for this character. If you had a week I could list maybe half of the things that freak me out, but one of my major fears is change. I DO NOT like change. My personal fear of change holds me back, it keeps me from taking chances and at times keeps me from things that would make me happy or make my life a little easier. It's the fear of the unknown, and I like to KNOW what's going to happen. So did my MC. Her fear of change led to a strangle-hold of control and through the course of the story, she had to face her fear and learn to let go.


Now, in my new book, I decided to take a new approach and made my MC a fearless, ass-kicking tough girl. Fear isn't really a word in her vocabulary. Dark alleys, scary creatures, swords and fist fights are her cup of tea. And not even a big, nasty, drooling creature out for her blood could make her run the other way. Did I make her completely fearless? Of course not. This girl was afraid of love. I made her nice and damaged, emotionally closed off, and through the course of the story, the fear she had to face was her fear of being loved and opening her heart. The idea of being fearless on the outside and a puddle of vulnerable goo on the inside is very appealing to me. ;)


Fear is irrational and unyielding and I know a lot about fear. I'm afraid to fly. I almost drove home from the Salt Lake Airport once after a particularly dicey landing. I'm terrified of spiders (any size). And don't even get me started about the fear I feel when my daughter drives home from college or when my son drives his four-wheeler. I'm afraid of failure as well as success (remember, I hate change) and I'm the most afraid of letting the people I care about down. I'm afraid that my writing sucks and I'm wasting my time, and yes, I'll say it, I'm afraid that one day and agent will actually tell me that they want to represent me (again, that whole change thing).


I like to write about my characters overcoming their fears because it's great therapy. Through my writing, I can work on addressing my own insecurities and through my characters and my words I shed a little fear every day. I figure if I keep it up, I'll be a tough-as-nails, ass kicking heroine in no time!
Be sure to check out Michelle's post before mine, and Sandra's tomorrow to find out what freaks them out.

11 comments:

Susan R. Mills said...

Great topic! I also write about overcoming fears for much the same reason as you. It is reflective of my own journey. My Mc is actually afraid of mobsters, but she's also afraid of being good.

ElanaJ said...

Great therapy - yes!! So true, especially when writing about fears. I like reading (and writing) stories where the MC overcomes something hard. Because it's hard to do in real life.

Kat Harris said...

And don't even get me started about the fear I feel when my daughter drives home from college or when my son drives his four-wheeler.

These are some of the things I dread the most when I think about my kids getting older.

Cole Gibsen said...

Great post! I totally understand your fear of obtaining an agent - because once you do it feels like you enter the fear circle. I've got the agent - but now I fear not getting published. And if I get published I fear not selling my book. And if I sell my book I'm afraid of bad reviews. And if I get good reviews I'm afraid of not writing a good enough sequel.

And then, the cirlce begins again.

Sandra said...

Writing is great therapy!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Writing and cooking...great and free therapeutic pursuits. :)

Tamika: said...

My character full of emotional baggage she runs halfway around the world to avoid, only to be slapped in the face with her worst tragedy. It forces her to go home deal with her past to help face her future.

Great topic!

B.J. Anderson said...

Fantastic post. Isn't it strange how there are so many things out there to be afraid of? Of course, maybe that's just human nature. Our instinct to survive makes us afraid of things. The less we do, the less chance we have of getting hurt. I think it's cool that you are traveling outside your bubble of comfort. I have to force myself to do the same thing everyday.

Eric said...

Totally awesome post. Fear of change is interesting. I like how you use your fears in your writing though. I can imagine it really improves your ability to create that impression of fears in your characters.

Oh, and I love the title. Classic.

Michelle McLean said...

You know, if you were to ask me if I was afraid of change, I'd probably say "No way! I love it, it's great to mix things up!" But really, I'm not big on it. For certain things anyways. I don't mind moving so much. I like going to new cities and new houses. But when it comes to changes in my personal life, yeah...I'm not such a fan, I think :) Awesome post!

Sarah Bromley said...

Fantastic post. I have a major fear of change, too. Tackling fears in writing is certainly a good way of trying to cope with them.