What is Your Writer’s Kryptonite?
The question this week is ‘What is your writer’s kryptonite’?
Since last week the question was is your writer’s superpower, I suppose this is a good time to talk about what works against that.
Through Gabriella Pereira’s Writer’s Superpower quiz, I discovered that my superpower is Survivor, someone who overcomes adversity.
Though I’ve always known what my kryptonite is, I still struggle to deal with it.
In writing, the goal is to put your character up a tree and throw stones at them to see how they react. In fact, writers create trauma in their characters. And, if I am writing with a survivor superpower, then, in fact, I am traumatizing an already traumatized character.
The interesting thing is that this is what makes a good story.
Which leads into my kryptonite.
What is the basis for trauma? It is fear. My superpower and my kryptonite go together well.
Being afraid that something worse is going to happen to us. I tend to be nice to my characters which creates weak writing.
Too often what happens in our real life carries over to the page. It is interesting to me how much my superpower and my kryptonite are connected, and how each of those is connected to real life.
I was curious about fear and went to my trusty “Flip Dictionary” by Barbara Ann Kipfer. If you don’t have this book, it is a good one to have on your bookshelf. The Flip Dictionary won’t necessarily tell you the definition, but it will give you the phrases and the words that subject means
For instance, courage (which was the first word I chose that was opposite fear, though I’m not sure if it truly is) has three entries:
Courage (page 155): audacity, backbone, boldness, braveness, bravery, chin up, daring, etc.
There are nearly 20 words for courage, and that is only the first entry.
There is also a listing for an entry for courage from alcohol and courageous which has nearly as many words as courage itself.
Fear, on the other hand, has almost an entire page. On page 243 of the book, the top half of the page is devoted to types of fear. Did you know that the fear of lawyers is called ipsophobia? The list includes 53 other types of fear.
Also included are 17 entries on fear.
Fear: affright, agitation, alarm, anxiety, apprehension, awe, concern, consternation, dismay, etc.
In light of recent events, fear is a virulent infection throughout our lives.
How can any of this change?
“The only way out is through.”
I’m taking this to be my mantra, probably for the rest of my life. The only way to overcome fear is to face them. Facing your fears is difficult, and I’ve found that when I’ve dealt with one, another, even more, insidious issue takes its place.
So, the mantra. Each day, getting up and facing those things that scare you the most is an act of courage.
Courage isn’t the opposite of fear, yet they go hand in hand. There is a quote, and I will probably ruin it here but says something like “courage isn’t the absence of fear, courage is being afraid and doing it anyway.”
There is strength in fear, the question is, will that strength be used to stay back and stay safe or will the strength be in finding the courage to push through?
Thanks for the reference book tip. We all face fear, I think. I worry that my stories aren’t interesting enough to ever grab an agent’s interest, but so far that fear hasn’t kept me from querying, and querying, and querying…
That is fabulous! I’m still working in that.