Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Are your characters scared?
How often to you put the fear in your characters? Other than when being chased by a brain eating zombie that is.
Fear is for more than horror tales. It’s something that we carry with us every day. Every living creature has a fear. Admit it even you are afraid of something. Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes, Tom Hanks character from Angels & Demons was claustrophobic.
Those fears can give a needed push to a scene or have a significant effect on a story. It can be a hindrance for your character or a challenge they can overcome. No matter what the fear at some point a person is going to have to face it. Maybe daily.
Look back for a moment at the television series Monk. He was terrified of germs. It was a challenge for that character to overcome his fear in order to solve the mystery. With out his quirky fear it would have been a pretty boring show.
Our fears are part of our personality traits as much as any other. Perfect heroes and heroines are really hard to swallow. It’s the flaws that draw the reader to them more than the perfections. So don’t be afraid to let the character’s negative side show now and again.
You don’t have to be cliché when passing out phobias. There are hundreds of them to chose from. You might have a character afraid of rabbits or thunder, fear of a certain plant or even a scent. Almost anything can be a fear.
By adding this one little flaw you’re opening a whole new avenue for your character and story. If you hit a block at one point that might be the time to bring up why your character has this fear or make a situation where they have to face it in order to move to the next task.
Fear is a challenge we all can relate to. Young or old we walk along with all of the fears and phobias around us just waiting to jump out and say boo. So put some fear in your character and see where this new dimension in his/her personality takes you.