Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Fear


Most of Talia's life in The Magic Wakes is motivated by fear. Perhaps this is why she struggles in the beginning of Search for Knowledge (now being drafted). For a short time her greatest fear is gone--the big "death is imminent" one. Don't worry, a new fear comes along quick enough to drive a new story and push Talia's character to grow and develop one step farther along her arc.

But I'm getting ahead of  myself. Let's get back to TMW. There are three main fears pushing Talia along her quest.

Side note: I believe fear is tied closely to hope, which we will discuss on H day. When fear forces us to make a decision, we must have some degree of hope in the path we choose to follow.

1. Fear of Death
This is the most obvious since the reader is introduced to her nightmares in the first chapter. Talia's dreamed of an invasion and her subsequent death since birth. Although she knows they are dreams, these nightmares feel so real that she must believe they are prophetic. On top of how real they feel, she knows she doesn't make up the side effects of those visions. Cuts, bruises, burned skin. The creatures of her dreams are so fierce that she feels no one can save her or Sendek from their grasp.

This fear drives her choice of study and ultimately her career choice. How do you prepare for an invasion that no one knows about? Step one, find a way to inform those with the best chance of protecting you. Since these people are not likely to believe and prepared because of a dream, you must find scientific proof of extraterrestrial life. The best way to do that is to get really good at looking into space.

2. Fear of Acceptance
Notice I didn't say fear of NOT being accepted. Talia feels emotionally safe alone. If people accepted her they would want to get close to her. And if she allowed that she would once more be capable of losing something. Talia thinks that by keeping her distance she is protecting others from sharing her fate as well as protecting her heart from being broken once more like when her family died one by one.

This fear drives Talia to only put effort in perceived "safe areas"--the trees and other wildlife. When interacting with people she is civil but distant, erecting walls and running away when necessary.

3. Fear of Being Alone
This is in direct conflict with her need to keep people at a distance. In an effort to protect herself and others, she denies herself the one thing she wants more than anything. More than surviving the Dragumon in fact. She wants to be loved.

This fear is very subtle, but if you look you can find the clues. Her self consciousness betrays her in ways she can't control. For instance the way her body warms when Landry is near. The way she can't help but drift towards him "as if he had his own gravity". She's afraid of him on so many levels. ;)

So what are you the most afraid of and how does it drive your choices?

By the way--I'm run/walking a half marathon today with my daughter and there is a lot of "Fear" running through my head. We are both woefully unprepared for today. However we are trying to tell ourselves we're just going to have fun and get "started" with our healthier lifestyle goals.