Use Your Fear

Happy Monday, folks! Holly here with my top tip for this week: Use your fear.

We’re all afraid of something and it’s so easy to get lost in it and become paralysed.

But what if you could ride your fear like a surfer rides a wave?

Rather than being crushed by it, you can use your fear to motivate or inspire you. Scared of losing your house because you have no money? Feel the fire in your gut and do whatever it takes to smash that book launch and make some money.

Scared that everyone will judge you and think you’re a terrible writer? Defy the haters and hone your craft so you can be proud of the writing you put out into the world.

Alternatively, put your fears into your books to create realistic horror, thrills or tension!

This can come into play no matter what genre you write in. Almost any book in any genre needs tension, conflict and stakes. Stakes are the heart of fear. We have to be afraid of losing something in order for us to empathise with the protagonist and want them to succeed.

From romance to thrillers, all books need to utilise fear to some degree.

So, how do you use your own fears in order to create believable and emotional stakes in your books?

Me? I’m scared of spiders. So I wrote a terrifying spider demon into one of my books and it gives me chills every time I think about it. Hopefully it has the same effect on my readers!

But what if you write romance or cosy mysteries? Chances are in those cases you don’t want to throw phobias or nightmares into your writing. How could you use your own fears in those circumstances?

Think about what your characters need to achieve. What is the source of conflict in the story? What’s at stake?

Make the reader feel a little fear for what might happen if your main character fails and the thing at risk comes true.

Maybe you’re scared of being alone. So in your romance novel, that could be what’s at stake. A lifetime alone. Conjure up your own feelings and incorporate them into your character. Using your own fears will help to make the fear believable in your character and also, hopefully, in your readers.

What are you afraid of and how can you use it to take your writing career to the next level? Join the discussion over on our Instagram.

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