It's my turn to pick the blog chain topic this time. So, yes. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Since Halloween is just around the corner, we're going to explore our deepest fears.
I was in junior high the first time I heard Franklin Roosevelt's quote, "...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself..."
At the time, I rolled my eyes and muttered, "What about snakes . . . and the dark . . . and the blue bedroom at my house? Yeah, those things are pretty scary, too, Mr. Roosevelt."
But things have changed since then. I now understand what he was talking about.
But I still have "what about...?" questions regarding fears. They just have different endings. My fears are more like internal worries: Am I earning enough money to eventually retire? Am I raising my children to the best of my abilities? Will they get into a good college and be successful? (But I still don't like snakes or the dark or sleeping the blue bedroom at my parents' house.)
Fact of the matter is, fear is fear. It causes stress. It causes tension. And every person fears something.
But the end of Roosevelt's quote tells us we must move past our fears: "...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
Our characters aren't any different. As writers, we put our characters in situations where they must face their fears -- sometimes internal, sometimes external. Sometimes the two mix, and then all hell breaks loose.
That brings me to my question this time around: 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?
While I wouldn't be opposed to writing about monsters, everything I've written has been about characters who are driven by internal fears made larger than life by external events.
One of the new stories I'm working on has a girl, the child of a single mother, who worries she will suffer the same illness that claimed her mom's life. This fear drives her to discover the other half of her identity. In the Nano story I've begun plotting in my head, the main character fears she has been lied to throughout her entire life and is driven to find out why.
I prefer exploring the impact internal fears can have on the lives of those around the central character. It's interesting to see how one poor decision can mess up everyone else's plans. (Although, it really sucks when it happens in my own life.)
What about you and your characters?
Christine will take it from here. Enjoy!