It’s kinda funny the things people are afraid of, yeah?
Like, there’s lists and lists of phobias. And some of them make sense, like claustrophobia, because like, being trapped in a small space? That’s something that could kill you, that makes sense that you would be afraid of that. But then there’s things like the one fear of a duck watching you. Which to me, does not seem like something that would be a real threat.
There’s thousands of fears, both rational and irrational, and they’re fascinating.
Fear is one of the biggest character motivations. Fear of failure, fear of losing loved ones, fear of being left alone, fear of trusting others because they could be betrayed, fear of losing control. Decisions can be tainted when one is scared, panic can cause you to do some stupid stuff that you’ll regret. If a villain knows what the hero fears, they can be manipulated.
But like one of the very best things is when the hero overcomes their fear. It doesn’t always happen and it doesn’t always need to happen, but when it does?
Especially when they do it for somebody they love.
Like, okay, you’ve got the antisocial grumpy warrior, for instance. He hates people and has no friends, and mostly it is because people are afraid of him. But really he’s afraid, he’s afraid to get close to people because he’s lost people before and he doesn’t want to go through that pain again.
Until a certain small person comes in a blaze of sunshine and fluff and possible thievery and just destroys them completely, and they realize that its not worth pushing everybody away just because you’re afraid you’ll lose them.
I do love that, actually.
But also!!! Angst!!!
I like angst.
The reason I thought of fear as a topic is because of video games, actually. Horror games are interesting to watch. I don’t know if I could actually play them (I get jumpscared by cats, for crying out loud) but the psychology behind them is fascinating. In my opinion, the best ones aren’t the ones that get you with frequent jumpscares or with gory beasties chasing you. They’re the ones that rely on your imagination, merely providing an atmosphere and letting your brain fill in the rest. Phasmophobia is a good one, but that one’s more fun than scary.
The Bradwell Conspiracy is probably the best ‘horror’ game I’ve ever seen. I watched a playthrough with my sister maybe a year ago, and I’ve never been so terrified without reason in my life. The music is incredible, for one thing, I highly suggest you listen to the soundtrack sometime. But the atmosphere, its completely innocent but with that little sense that something is off. And your brain just takes that and goes off. Around every corner you expect something to jump out at you, but nothing ever does. Mildly unsettling creaking noises are just enough louder than the music to set you on edge, but nothing ever comes to get you. Long, dark hallways, a staple of any scary game, but nothing ever chases you and the walls never close in and you’re left wondering the whole time “what’s going to go wrong? what’s going to come get me? why hasn’t anything happened yet?”
Horror games are cool though, because you can be scared without it being a bad thing. Like maybe you’ll be a little more likely to leave a lamp on when you go to bed, but you don’t really believe that the thing is going to hurt you. You can afford to be scared of something that isn’t real. And being afraid of some lanky cryptid with a megaphone for a head is significantly easier to deal with than being scared of something like, I dunno, the inevitable march of time or something.
Not that I have any experience with that or anything.
Responses to fear are also interesting. Fight, flight, or freeze, right? Sometimes a combination, which is kind of funny to see actually. Like me, when I get startled I simultaneously try to flinch away from the thing and also punch it in the face. Which has lead to several accidental elbows to the gut of unfortunate people that decided it would be a good idea to sneak up behind me, and more than one cup of water teasingly held over my head ending up splattered all over the place.
Look it’s their fault for trying to sneak up on someone with the reflexes of a two month old kitten.
Sorry about the rambling, I’m literally just writing down thoughts as I have them. And I think I’ve run out of thoughts, coherent ones anyhow. But I bet you haven’t! Writers, how do you use fear in your writing, for theme and plot stuff, or just fun angsty bits? Non-writers, do you like scary stuff? And also, do you have any topics you’d like me to ramble about? Leave comments!!! They make me quite happy.
Anyhow, I’ll see you next week! Thank you for reading!