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?
My fear can be summed up in one word: ICE.
Those ain't no photobucket stock pics.
That. Was. My. Car.
(Station wagon, actually. But who can tell?)
In 2002 I was traveling along I-40 in St. Louis and coming up to the old Bush Stadium. It was beginning to sleet so I slowed my pace. The interstate arched upwards and at the top of the hill I was surprised to see that the cars below were at a standstill. I tapped on my brakes and while my car fish-tailed I was able to come to a safe stop.
Then I looked in my rearview mirror. Even at a glance I could tell the guy flying over the hill would be unable to stop.
And neither did the eighteen cars after him.
I walked away from this accident with 30 staples in my head, a concussion, and lots of bumps and bruises. (Incidentally, when your Mom warns you to wear clean underwear - heed her! I told the paramedics my leg hurt and my pants were cut off faster than you can say, 'Yes, I wear granny-panties, what of it!')
Because of this accident I've had an eight-year prescription of anxiety relieving drugs and I. Do. Not. Drive. On. Ice. Sometimes, if I close my eyes I can still hear the whine of twisting metal - feel the warmth of the blood as it trickles down my face.
But this wasn't my first brush with death. I almost drowned at sailing camp. I was in a tornado. My brain swelled so severely from a horseback riding accident they nearly drilled a hole in my head. The last incident I prefer to keep private. In honor of these occasions I have a tattoo of a black cat with the words "nine lives" drawn overhead. Underneath I have five tally marks. (The poor kitty deserves his own tally mark as he did not fare so well during my pregnancy - his location is on my abdomen.)
Because of this I'd like to think that I can express fear in my writing in a way that others may not. I know what it feels like to stare down the end of a barrel. Your heart pounding so loudly it drowns out all other sound. The tingling of adrenaline as it races along your skin on insect legs. The thickness of your throat when you're trying to scream, yet the sound won't come. So, while my fears can sometimes get the better of me, I can take some joy in the fact that these heart pounding experiences only served to benefit my writing.
So how about you? What experiences have you had, good/bad, that have changed your writing?
Please check out the astounding Shaun who posted two days ago, and the awe-inspiring Rebecca who will post later today because I am, once again, a slacker.