Go Teen Writers had a great post about how to write what you've never experienced. It's about drawing from experiences you HAVE had, no matter how small, to start understanding the emotions that your character would be experiencing. The post has these examples for fear:
I've never been threatened at gunpoint. But as I search for a similar emotion—fear for my life—I've had a few moments on the road where I thought I'd crash. One time our tires hydroplaned on the freeway and we slid into the grassy median at 65 miles an hour. It was a good three seconds of horrifying fear. I recall the heat that flashed through me, how my breathing seemed to stop, how I screamed (I'm not a screamer), and how, once the tires got traction again, the amazing relief that this wasn't the end of my life.
Interesting. I could use that.
No one has ever broken into my home. But I heard a noise once. We all have. But this time I stopped moving, held my breath and listened. I was imagining it, of course, I always was. Until I heard the front screen door wheeze shut and slam.
I vaulted off my bed and sprinted to the kitchen, slowing just before the door to peek. No one. My heart felt like it was a pinball in my chest, desperate to get out of my body. I grabbed a knife from the kitchen, figuring that someone was either in the house or they'd just left. Either way, I wasn't going to torture myself by waiting around to find out. I glided into the living room on noiseless feet, holding my breath the whole way, praying God was watching and would keep me safe.
Then the screen door banged again, I lifted the knife, staring at the entrance way...
And my son came running inside the house. At midnight! He's eleven!
"Daddy's home!" he said, smiling.
"You scared me half to death," I told him. "Look, I have a knife in my hand to kill you with."
He laughed, thinking that was pretty funny. Little punk, anyway. :-)
So, clearly I could use that.What else could you use?
Sometimes, I think I can handle horror. And I absolutely cannot. But I'll watch something scary anyway. And everything is fine while the sun's up and there's people moving around the house doing stuff. But everything becomes sinister when the lights go down. I'll sit in my bed with my back to the wall, my eyes wide open and constantly scanning the room. The lamp on the night table is on, and I only have one earbud in, the music turned down to 1. I can feel my heart beating hard in my chest, and every muscle in my body is stiff. I don't want to move at all, in case I draw attention to myself. Adrenaline shoots through me at every harmless little noise. My ears are physically perked up as I strain to listen for suspicious sounds. My mind is going a mile a minute, wondering how I might defend myself since I don't have any weapon-like thing near me. Since my body is fully focused my potential impending doom, it stopped caring about it's lesser functions, and now I'm very aware of that water I drank before. But no way am I leaving this bed, man. No way.
I've never been hunted by anyone (or anyTHING dun dun dunnn), but my brain has told me I was. I could use that.
Actually, that's not true. I have been hunted, during games of Manhunt at our youth group. [If you don't know how to play, it goes like this: You select a designated area to run around in (in our case, the church). If it's a building, turn out all the lights. If it's outdoors, wait until night. Designate a few hunters, depending on the size of the group. Hide an item somewhere in the area (usually a small flashlight that's well hidden, but on, so it's not 100% impossible to find). Set up a "jail" area and decide whether people who are caught will be out for the rest of the game, in jail for a certain amount of time, or if they have to do something (sing a song, make up a poem) to get out of jail. Then everyone scatters and tries to find the item without getting caught. Romans and Christians is a similar game, but much harder.]
This too, can be used.
What about you? Have you had any scary experiences you could draw from for your writing? Do you have a favorite example of character fear from a book, one that you could really feel, and that got YOUR blood pumping? Did this post even make any sense, since I came up with it at like 2 in the morning? I have all the questions for you guys today. X)