Thursday, February 9, 2012
SAMPLE IT: 15 Ways To Show Fear
I have posts on fear and your characters, the details of fear (which explains why I'm splitting SAMPLE IT: Anxiety from SAMPLE IT: Fear), two main uses of fear, trauma and a list of trauma symptoms. You can check out a really neat set of descriptions of physical sensations and movements in response to emotions (fear) in the aforementioned hyperlink. Still, I think I can add to that, so without further ado, here is a list of 15 descriptions of fear. Here's an opening piece to put me in the mood:
Images flash across the screen. He can see them now. The screams of twisted creature's haggard features. Water rolling back of the shore of something terrible. Twisting vines of dripping black dangling from the sky. A voice that shatters glass. A rolling front of white-hot trembling air coming forward. Flesh flayed from bones. A man faces a woman with a knife. She intones, her hands twisting through a number of bizarre gestures, snake-like, intense, wrong. The man's face twists in pain, his limbs jerking back, pustules cross his face, blistering, fluidic, his eyes clouded with blood, growing red, the blood running along lines in his blistered face. He turns to the television screen.
1. Dave grips the remote tightly in his hand, staring wide-eyed at the screen.
2. Slowly, ever so slowly, he lifts the remote and presses the 'off button' with a trembling finger.
3. The television snaps off, and exhales long and slow, his lungs still tight.
4. He uses the chair's arm to steady himself as he rises to his feet.
5. His legs are weak beneath him and he staggers to the wall to lean against it, staring toward the warm lights of the kitchen.
6. The lights go out. His heart thuds against his ribs as he looks around, searching for some sign of an intruder by the light switch.
7. The television snaps back on. Gasping, he whips around towards it.
8. Nothing. Just static. He stares at it, eyes wide and watchful, eyebrows raised somewhere between hopeful and terrified. Maybe it's nothing.
9. His blood runs cold and he can almost feel the pallor settling on his cheeks.
10. Something rustled in the kitchen. He held his breath, keeping still, listening for the source of the sound.
11. Someone was moving around in there and he was standing so very close to the door. He crouched down somewhat, moving away, neck muscles stiff with the effort of holding himself as still as he could all the while moving toward the front door.
12. Footsteps behind him. He flinched, expecting pain.
13. A hand clamped down on his shoulder and he pulled away from it, cringing in fear.
14. "Please d...." His weak voice failed to finish the plea.
15. He ducked his head as he turned to face his attacker. "Mum?"
"David Robert Smith, why on Earth aren't you in bed yet?" asked his mother, smiling grimly. "Maybe this'll teach you for watching those horror movies on a school night."
Yeah, yeah, I know. Not the best quality writing but that's kind of hard when you're focusing on bodily reactions in a third-person restricted POV where each line needs a new response. Notice the fight, flight, or freeze responses? The times when he takes a deep breath (or exhales deeply) to ready himself?
Anyway, if anyone has any other examples of fear responses, please feel free to post them down in the Comments box.