Character’s fears

» Posted on May 4, 2005 in Blog | 1 comment

This is a good aspect to use to make your character three dimensional. Everyone has fears even our brave heroes and heroines. As writers we want them to have fears because fears lead to internal and even external conflicts. Conflict is what drives your story forward. Without it the story will stall and die–not a pretty sight, especially if we have invested many hours in writing the story to that point. The plot comes from the characters and their conflicts and fears. These characters have to grow and change which comes from dealing with their conflicts and fears. This should be a gradual change. A sudden one won’t be believable.

Again anything is possible so long as it makes sense with everything else you have developed in the book. Fears stem from a character’s background (as does his goals and motivations). Without fears a character won’t seem human. Fears and conflicts are what can give your character flaws and vulnerability–make your reader root for him. A perfect character, as I said earlier, would be boring. There are a lot of fears to draw on: fear of intimacy, lack of control, exposure (ties in with secrets), being alone, making a fool of himself, commitment. I think you can get the picture. This will be the meat of your story–where the drama will come in.

In GOLD IN THE FIRE, my October 2004 Love Inspired, Joshua fears being hurt again because he was left at the altar. You see how I used something in his past to develop his fear. As I develop a character’s background, I keep that in mind. Fears don’t come out of the blue with no basis for them. The same with flaws. There should be a reason a flaw is there and there should be a flaw.

1 Comment

  1. Margaret,
    I can so relate to the fear factor in a story , but in real life too..take my life for instance.. Last year at this time I thought I was in a happy marriage and a stay at home Mom.. I thought I had it all till it was taken away from me.. in one second my safe world fell on my head and I felt as if I was drowing.. besides my marriage falling apart having my daughter Samantha go thru the cancer scare and now might need surgery and I tackled that all on my own.. then I got sick and had to have surgery.. I was scared about starting school and thought I would of been better off just taking him back then go thru all of this.. but reality was he doesnt want to come back, he doesnt want the kids, and he doesnt care what happens to me as long as he doesnt have to do a thing to help.. my fear is what happenes if I go to school and I am just not smart enough for it.. Failure is my biggest fear..all this year has been nothing but failure.. one thing that I love about your stories is that it might take them time, but they do overcome thier fear.. When I read your book last week the thing that stuck with me is that she overcame her fear and stood on her own.. she made her own choices and at the end knew that he was the reason for her going back home.. she taught me more then you know..that is why I love reading these kinds of books then all others.. there is hope in this world for every one no matter the age , sex color, and faith.. now I need to face my fear and get a life that my kids and I both deserve.. one day I will have to tell you how I really live.. its not all roses what he let us live in but we make the most if what we have.. I am not embarassed but disappointed that I allowed myself to sink this low.. and the funny thing is he wants to throw us out to let him live here now..another fear of mine is how much more can my kids and I take of his selfishness.. well lol I think I kind of went overboard.. but this one I can so relate too.. Fear is a good thing to have its the foundation of the people we become.. hugs Alley

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