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!