Monday, October 26, 2009

Blog Chain: Facing Your Fears!

It's blog chain time again!

The devious Kat started us off this round with the following topic:

What are the primary fears that drive your characters? Do they battle aliens of gangsters or monsters? Or do they battle unreconciled issues in their lives? Which do you prefer writing about? What do you fear?

Wow! Love the topic, and not just because it's almost Halloween... Mwahahaha!

In my book, Legacy of the Empress, my characters have issues. Astrid, my heroine, spent the last ten years of her childhood locked away in a tower room. Her mother imprisoned her when she was eight after murdering her courtiers and usurping the throne using dark magic (what a bitch, right?). When Astrid escapes and finds the magic consuming the land and its people, she fears two things:

1) Being locked up again
2) Her mother killing more innocents before she can stop her.

Torin, the boy who joins her quest to find an ancient Empress and defeat the dark magic, has his own set of fears:

1) Living an unremarkable life
2) Letting Astrid down.

He longs to be something more, a hero, and sees himself as Astrid's protector on her journey. When he is weakened (no spoilers!), he struggles with feeling useless--a burden instead of a warrior.

I prefer writing about internal fears because those are the ones that haunt us the longest. We all have them: those tapes in our heads that tell us things we wish we didn't believe, but struggle with on a daily basis. We long to realize these fears and rise above them, to change the tapes to say what we want them to say. Instead of hearing "I'm not good enough," we want to hear "I'm good enough the way that I am!" It takes a journey to get there, though, and we're afraid of failing ourselves the most of all.

I read this quote the other day, and it really spoke to me:

"Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive — the risk to be alive and express what we really are."– Don Miguel Ruiz

We want to change, to better ourselves, but that requires a journey, and sometimes, a painful sacrifice. That conflict makes for some great storytelling, don't you think? :)

As for myself, some of my greatest fears include:

1) Losing loved ones before I'm ready to
2) Sliding down mountains (a weird phobia)
3) Living a fearful life and dying with regrets

The first one I can't control, the second is odd and means I don't like skiing, and the third is up to me. Regrets are for pussies! I can choose to follow my dreams, even if it means risking failure, and dammit all, I'm going to!

What about you? What fears do you characters face? What fears do you face in your everyday life?

Please check out the remarkable Cole answered before me, and the fearless Kate answers tomorrow! Don't miss it!


Eric said...

Great post. I really like the quote by Don Miguel Ruiz. It's very appropriate. And yeah, your fear of sliding down a mountain is pretty weird :)

Sarah Bromley said...

What a great post, and I really like the sound of your books. I agree that internal fears stay with us the longest time and are the ones that make for the best conflict when writing.

Rebecca Knight said...

Eric: Gravel can be treacherous, dangit! ;)

Sarah: Thanks :)! Some of my favorite stories are full of internal struggle, so I try to write what I'd like to read.

Mandy said...

Great quote Rebecca! I have to agree with Eric that the internal fears are the best to write about. And yes, sliding down a mountain is terrifying!!!

christine said...

Love that quote *wink*...and you know me - love internal fear!!! Great post.

Lisa and Laura said...

You know, I'm terrified of the dark and ghosts and these things don't seem to bother any of our characters. Hmm...

Abby said...

I agree that internal fear is more compelling than external in writing. I think it makes it easier to relate to the characters and makes them more believable. Great post!

Rebecca Knight said...

Mandy: Hooray! I'm not alone!

Christine: AH HA! Okay, I was wondering who I'd stolen that quote from ;). Thank you for inspiring me!

LiLa: Hey, now you've got material for the next book ;).

Abby: I agree about it being easier to relate to internal fears than, say, fear of Yettis. Internal is something we all deal with at some point!

Sandra said...

I love the part about internal fears staying the longest (especially since I think just about everyone has the kind of internal tape you describe) and how it takes a journey to overcome them. What a neat way to tie the latest blog chain topics together!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Like Sandra, I love what you wrote about internal fears - they are the ones that can stick around the longest!

Rebecca Knight said...

Sandra & Kate: It seems great minds think alike ;)! Thanks, guys!

B.J. Anderson said...

You go!! Sounds like you have your fears well under control. Great post!!

Kat Harris said...

Living a fearful life and dying with regrets

Ironically, this should be everyone's biggest fear.

Cole Gibsen said...

LOL! I hate skiing too! I thought I was alone, but lo and behold I have a comrad. Beautiful post and I loved the quotes!

Shaun Hutchinson said...

I love that sliding down mountains is one. I pictured a cartoon with the person who starts rolling down a mountain and then turns into a giant snowball.

Great post!

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

What a great post. Yes, write to motivate a response from people - I have for better and for worse! Shhhh, don't tell anyone about Stat Counter, they may stop visiting. And I have to go check out each of the links you mentioned. Thanks for the info.

Michelle McLean said...

wonderful posts, and love the quotes! And I've never tried skiing :D I just never felt the need to hurtle myself down a steep and slippery hill with nothing between me and the ground but a couple of sticks :D