Lately I’ve been feeling the pull of dark things. Not in reality, but dark fiction. ‘Tis the season of horror, and I have been reading a lot, writing a little myself and thinking about what exactly it is that makes for good horror or thriller fiction. Of course, to be effective, horror writing has to conjure and communicate a sense of fear. I presume that when most writers go for the scary, they start with things that are personally terrifying. A bit of a twist on the old adage “write what you know”  — write what you know scares the crap out of you. So I decided to do a little brainstorming about my own fears (the logical and probably universal, to some of the weirder ones that might make people say “Wha?! That scares you?”). I’ve posted 10 below, in no particular order. I am sure there are others I am not ready to face yet.

1) Drowning, asphyxiation, choking, being buried alive and any other horrifying scenario where I cannot breathe.

2) Car accidents (I saw the after effects of a deadly one on the highway last year and now the image is embedded in my brain).

3) Blindness, especially the sudden and unexpected kind. Where you just wake up one morning but everything is and always will be black.

4) Parrots (and other talking birds…actually any talking animal. Monkeys and apes that do sign language are fine.)

5) Lice, ticks, tapeworms and any other human parasite.

6) Any friend or family member getting lost or suddenly going missing.

7) Me, getting lost in the woods. Alone. I could cope if there was someone else there to help fight off the wolves, or cougars,or sasquatches or whatever. Especially if I could run faster than that companion.

8) Terminal disease or debilitating illness (I am a hypochondriac. Knowing that I am doesn’t stop me from having the thoughts).

9) Making other people sick — either by carrying some germ, or unintentionally poisoning them with some bacteria or allergen in my cooking.

10) Zombies. I am well aware this is a completely irrational and stupid fear, because I don’t actually believe zombies could ever exist. But I’ve watched too many episodes of Walking Dead, and now I’ve actually convinced myself I could encounter a snarling walker when I go to take out the garbage. And I will have, stupidly, left my katana in the house.

What scares you? Be warned though, if you tell me, there’s a good chance I might work it into a story.


7 thoughts on “Fears

  1. If like me, you had never watched anything about zombies you would have no reason to be scared. Ignorance IS sometimes bliss. On the other hand……………aliens!

  2. Ditto for me on your top 10 and now 11. Although I really like talking animals and wish my cat would surprise me with a rant, quote or conversation about anything but the weather.
    I’m kinda terrified of chain saws and electrical saws. Hubby has a saw for every occasion and now wants to get a chain saw, argh!

  3. I am afraid of falling down the stairs. The type of fall where you miss a step, lose your balance, and go ass over tea kettle. How horrifying it must be when you`re falling and know it isn`t going to end well for you. Terrifying!

    • I should add this to my list since I am a terrific klutz and have fallen down the stairs at least twice that I can remember. Luckily, they were small, injury-free falls. Only my pride was hurt.

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