No, I wasn't procrastinating, nothing like that. I had a perfectly good reason to be plowing through my bookcase a few weeks ago. A new couch was about to be moved into my office and to do so, said bookcase had to be moved. So then I decided to weed through some of the old stuff and in order to make sure I didn't want to keep certain writing research books, I had to skim them.
Okay, now that hopefully you're all buying into this essential activity, what I wound up holding onto last was a ten year old book on how to write horror. I write erotica. I used to write category romances and Native American historicals, not horror. But--confession time--I'd love to give horror a whirl. Unfortunately, my last name's not King or Koontz and reality said, "Vonna, there ain't a chance in you know what that you'll get horror published." So why am I holding onto the book?
Because tapping into my characters' fears is an incredibly exciting way of getting down to their essence.
Okay, let me think about that for a moment. A new idea is perculating and when sleep wouldn't come last night, I asked what my still-growing hero and heroine's greatest fears are. For the heroine, its going to be being lost. As a child, she was left alone (not sure how that came about) in the middle of a forest. As a result, she struggled to get past that trauma by becoming intimately familiar with the wilderness. This will tie into the hero's need for her. Of course she's not about to reveal that old fear to this powerful man who is forcing her to guide him against her will. Ah, I'm getting a chill just thinking about what happens between the two of them when what she believes is her greatest weakness is revealed.
So what about our fearless hero who right now has a lot of Konan the Barbarian in him. You know the type, bred and trained to risk his life in service to his king. Whatever's required of him, he'll do it in service to the man he considers a god. He's not afraid of death, considers it a badge of honor to die in service to his country. (Hey, he was brainwashed, ain't his fault). What he does fear is helplessness. What if he can't fight? What purpose does his existence have?
My still-birthing characters aren't afraid of monsters who come out at night, snakes, lightning storms, etc, etc. No, their personal horrors are much closer to the heart. And those vulnerabilities are what, eventually, hopefully, will bring them together.
As for me, probably the thing I'd be the most afraid of is cave exploring. Going into the dark to who knows where with what crawling around? Not gonna happen!!!!!!
Okay, gentle readers. What bumps around you in the middle of the night?