Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/10960
Short Stories: September 01, 2021 Issue [#10960]

 This week: Fearless Writing with Émile Zola
  Edited by: Shannon
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Welcome to the Short Stories Newsletter. I am Shannon and I'm your editor this week.

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Letter from the editor

Writers aspire to write stories that grab readers by their lapels and won't let go, but it can be a daunting task. Sometimes we stare at the blinking cursor or blank page and wonder if everything's been written about, whether the ever-elusive "original idea" even exists. Ecclesiastes 1:9, purportedly written in the 3rd century BC (Brittanica.com), reads, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

Of course, Biblical scholars say this passage refers to the creation of the universe and everyday life on earth: day and night, summer and winter, spring and fall, wind and rain, sunrise and sunset, seed and harvest, good and evil, birth and death. It obviously doesn't apply to the technological or scientific advances humanity has achieved over the past 100 years, and it certainly doesn't apply to creative art.

"Writers create art with literature through the organization of words that give pleasure, and while reading is enjoyable, those words are often critiques of society. Many of the most well-known authors used language and the written word to critique or offer a point of view on society, including George Orwell, Charlotte Brontë, and Charles Dickens." ~ Eden Gallery  

But "sitting down at a typewriter and opening a vein," as Hemingway called it, isn't for the faint of heart. It is an intimate and courageous act, for when writers pour their lifeblood onto the page they expose themselves to scrutiny, criticism, and potential public scorn.

In 1867, French novelist Émile Zola published Thérèse Raquin in serial format in a French literary magazine titled L'Artiste; he was not prepared for the reception it received. The work was republished as a novel in 1868 prefaced by the following:

I had imagined in my simplicity that this novel might do without a preface. Being in the habit of saying aloud exactly what I think, of laying stress even upon the slightest details of what I write, I had hoped to have been understood and judged without any preliminary explanation. It appears that I was mistaken.

Criticism has received this book with a brutal and indignant outcry. Certain virtuous individuals, in newspapers equally virtuous, have made a grimace of disgust as they took it up with the tongs to pitch it into the fire. The little literary sheets themselves, those little sheets which chronicle every evening the news of alcoves and private supper-rooms at restaurants, have put their handkerchiefs to their noses and talked of filth and foul smells. I in nowise complain of this reception; on the contrary, I am charmed to observe that my brother journalists possess the sensitive nerves of young girls. It is quite evident that my work belongs to my judges, and that they may consider it a nauseous production without my having a right to protest. What I do complain of is that not one of the chaste journalists, who blushed on reading “Thérèse Raquin,” appears to me to have understood this novel. If they had understood it, perhaps they would have blushed still more, but I should at least at this moment have had the inmost satisfaction of seeing them disgusted with good cause. Nothing is more irritating than to hear worthy writers complaining of depravity, when one is intimately persuaded that they cry out without knowing their reason for doing so.

It becomes necessary, therefore, that I should myself introduce my work to my judges. I will do so in a few lines, solely with a view of avoiding all misunderstanding in the future.

In “Thérèse Raquin,” I have sought to study temperaments and not characters. In that lies the entire book. I have selected personages sovereignly dominated by their nerves and their blood, destitute of free will, led at each act of their life by the fatalities of their flesh. Thérèse and Laurent are human brutes, nothing more. I have sought to follow, step by step, throughout the career of these brutes, the secret working of their passions, the promptings of their instinct, the cerebral disorders following a nervous crisis. The amours of my hero and heroine are the satisfying of a necessity; the murder they commit is a consequence of their adultery, a consequence which they accept like wolves accept the slaughtering of sheep; finally, that which I have been obliged to term their remorse, consists in a simple organic disorder, in the rebellion of a nervous system strung to the point of breaking. The soul is entirely wanting; I admit this the more readily as I wished it to be so.

The reader begins, I hope, to understand that my aim has been, before all other, a scientific one. When my two personages, Thérèse and Laurent, were created, I took pleasure in stating certain problems to myself and in solving them; thus, I tried to explain the strange union which may be produced between two different temperaments; I showed the profound agitation of a sanguineous nature coming into contact with a nervous one. When one reads the novel carefully, one will observe that each chapter is the study of a curious case of physiology. In a word, I had but one desire: given a powerful man and an unsated woman, seek the animal within them, even see nothing but the animal, cast them into a violent drama, and scrupulously note the acts and sensations of these beings. I have simply undertaken on two living bodies the analytical work which surgeons perform on corpses.

Admit that it is hard, when one emerges from such a task, still enwrapt in the grave enjoyments of the search for truth, to hear people accuse you of having had for your sole object the painting of obscene pictures. I find myself in the same position as those painters who copy the nude, without the least desire being kindled within them, and who are profoundly surprised when a critic declares himself scandalized by the life-like flesh of their work. While engaged in writing “Thérèse Raquin,” I forgot the world, I became lost in the minute and exact copy of life, giving myself up entirely to the analysis of the human mechanism; and I can assure you that the cruel amours of Thérèse and Laurent had in them nothing immoral to my mind, nothing which could dispose one to evil passions. The humanity of the models disappeared the same as it vanishes in the eyes of the artist who has a naked woman sprawling before him, and who is solely thinking of representing this woman on his canvas in all the truthfulness of form and color. Therefore my surprise was great when I heard my work compared to a pool of blood and mire, to a sewer, to a mass of filth, and I know not what else. I know the pretty game of criticizing; I have played at it myself; but I admit that the uniformity of the attack rather disconcerted me. What! there was not one of my brother writers who would explain the book, if not defend it! Among the concert of voices exclaiming, “The author of ‘Thérèse Raquin’ is a wretched, hysterical being who delights in displaying obscenities,” I have vainly awaited a voice that replied, “Not at all! this writer is a mere analyst, who may have forgotten himself amidst human putrefaction, but who has forgotten himself there like the doctor forgets himself in the dissecting-room.”

Observe that I in no way ask for the sympathy of the press for a work which, as it says, is repugnant to its delicate senses. I am not so ambitious. I am merely astonished that my brother writers should have made me out a kind of literary scavenger—they, whose experienced eyes should discover in ten pages a novelist’s intentions; and I am content to humbly implore them to be good enough in future to see me as I am and to discuss me for what I am.

It was easy, though, to understand “Thérèse Raquin,” to place one’s self on the field of observation and analysis, to show me my real faults, without going and picking up a handful of mud and throwing it in my face in the name of morality. This required only a little intelligence and a few methodical ideas in real criticism. The reproach of immorality, in scientific matters, proves absolutely nothing. I do not know whether my novel is immoral; I admit that I never troubled myself to make it more or less chaste. What I do know is that I never for a moment thought of introducing into it the filth that these moral persons have discovered; that I wrote each scene, even the most passionate, with the sole curiosity of the man of science; that I defy my judges to find in it a single page really licentious, written for the readers of those little pink books, of those indiscreet chronicles of the boudoir and the stage, which are printed ten thousand copies at a time, and warmly recommended by the very newspapers which are so disgusted by the truths in “Thérèse Raquin.”

A few insults, a large amount of stupidity, is therefore all I have read up to the present respecting my work. I say so here quietly, the same as I would say it to a friend who should ask me privately what I think of the attitude which criticism has taken up towards me. A writer of great talent, to whom I complained of the little sympathy I have met with, made me this profound answer: “You have an immense fault which will close all doors against you: you cannot converse for two minutes with a fool without showing him that he is one.” It must be so; I can feel the harm I do myself as regards criticism by accusing it of a want of intelligence, and yet I cannot help showing the contempt I feel for its limited horizon and the judgments it delivers with its eyes shut, without the least attempt at method. I speak, be it understood, of current criticism, of that which judges with all the literary prejudices of fools, unable to place itself on the broad, human standpoint required to understand a human work. Never before have I met with such blundering. The few blows that the minor critics have dealt me with respect to “Thérèse Raquin” have landed, as usual, into space. They hit, essentially, in the wrong place, applauding the capers of a powdered actress, and then complaining of immorality with reference to a physiological study, understanding nothing, unwilling to understand anything, striking always straight before them, if their panic-stricken foolishness bids them strike. It is exasperating to be beaten for a fault one has not committed. At times, I regret not having written something obscene; it seems to me that I should delight in receiving a merited castigation, in the midst of this shower of blows falling so stupidly on my head, like a cartload of bricks, without my knowing why.

In our time there are scarcely more than two or three men capable of reading, understanding, and judging a book. From these I will consent to receive lessons, persuaded as I am that they will not speak without having penetrated my intentions and appreciated the result of my efforts. They would think twice before uttering those grand empty words, morality and literary modesty; they would allow me the right, in these days of liberty in art, of choosing my subjects wherever I thought best, requiring of me no more than conscientious work, aware that folly alone is prejudicial to the dignity of letters. One thing is certain, the scientific analysis which I have attempted to perform in “Thérèse Raquin” would not surprise them; they would see in it the modern method, the instrument of universal inquiry of which the century makes such feverish use to penetrate the future. Whatever their conclusion might be, they would admit my point of departure, the study of temperament and of the profound modifications of organism under the pressure of circumstances and situations. I should find myself in the presence of real judges, of men honestly seeking for truth, without puerility or false shame, and not thinking it necessary to show disgust at the sight of bare and living anatomical forms. Sincere study, like fire, purifies everything. No doubt to the tribunal I am pleased to picture at this moment my work would appear very humble; I would that it met with full severity from its critics, I would like to see it emerge black with corrections. But I should at least have the great joy of seeing myself criticized for that which I have attempted to do, and not for that which I have not done.

I can fancy I hear, even now, the sentence of high criticism, of that methodical and naturalistic criticism which has imbued science, history, and literature with new life: “‘Thérèse Raquin’ is the study of too exceptional a case; the drama of modern life is more supple, less wrapt up in horror and madness. Such cases should only occupy a secondary position in a work. The desire to lose no portion of his observations has led the author to give prominence to every detail, and this has added still more tension and harshness to the whole. On the other hand, the style does not possess the simplicity requisite in an analytical novel. It would be necessary, in short, that the writer, to enable him to construct a good novel, should see society with a wider glance, should paint it under its numerous and varied aspects, and should above all employ a plain and natural language.”

I had wished to reply in twenty lines to attacks rendered irritating by their ingenuous bad faith, and I perceive that I am chatting with myself, as always happens whenever I keep a pen too long in my hand. I therefore stop, knowing that readers do not care for that kind of thing. Had I had the will and the leisure to write a manifesto, perhaps I might have attempted to defend what a journalist, speaking of “Thérèse Raquin,” has termed, “putrid literature.” But where’s the use? The group of naturalistic writers to which I have the honor to belong possesses sufficient courage and activity to produce strong works, carrying their own defense within them. It requires all the blind obstinacy of a certain class of critics to force a novelist to write a preface. As, for the sake of light, I have committed the fault of writing one, I crave the pardon of those intelligent persons who have no need to have a lamp lighted at mid-day to enable them to see clearly.


Product Type: Kindle
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After reading that preface, who wouldn't want to immediately dive into Thérèse Raquin? 

The National Storytelling Network   defines storytelling as "the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination," and the art of storytelling comes in many forms: short stories, audiobooks, novels, vlogs, songs, poetry, plays, musicals, essays, articles, memoirs, biographies, flash fiction, and film, to name a few.

The world is filled with amazing stories, fiction and nonfiction alike. Reading or listening to the stories of others may spark ideas of your own. Have you ever read an article or watched the evening news only to experience story ideas and plot twists pinballing through your head? I have. I get ideas while overhearing snippets of whispered conversation, interacting with burnt-out coworkers, watching a documentary, observing strangers in the grocery store.

Today we're going to do something a little different. I love to watch other people tell stories--how animated they become as they delve progressively deeper into the story they're telling, and one of my favorite YouTube storytellers is John B. Allen, A.K.A. Mr. Ballen,   an ex-Navy SEAL turned YouTube storyteller. Because we all love to tell stories and experience the stories of others, today I'm going to share a few of Ballen's Best. Enjoy!

*Down* The biggest FAIL in military history | Historical Legends Part 4 *Down*

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*Down* Top 3 most unbelievable celebrity backstories *Down*

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*Down* From Navy SEAL to SCARY YouTuber | The MrBallen story *Down*

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*Down* Someone you know was on this plane *Down*

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*Down* The stray cat king | Historical Legends Part 5 *Down*

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Did any of the videos give you an idea for a story? What's your current work in progress about? How do you find inspiration? Do you have a favorite storyteller? Every registered author who shares their ideas and/or creative endeavors relating to or inspired by this week's topic will receive an exclusive trinket. I will retire this month's limited-edition trinket at 11:59 p.m. WDC time on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, when my next short stories newsletter goes live.

Until next time, thank you for reading.

A swirly signature I made using the Mutlu font and a drop shadow.
Newsletter Archives  (E)
A listing of all my newsletters in one easy-to-find place.
#1555482 by Shannon

Further Reading:
1. 55 of History's Creepiest Pictures and Their Equally Disturbing Backstories   Click on "View Gallery"
2. All That's Interesting  
3. Christmas Truce of 1914  
4. Unearthing History’s Lost and Untold Stories  
5. Some of the Weirdest Stories That Ever Appeared in The [New York] Times  

Editor's Picks

I hope you enjoy this week's featured selections. I occasionally feature static items by members who are no longer with us; some have passed away while others simply aren't active members. Their absence doesn't render their work any less relevant, and if it fits the week's topic I will include it.

Thank you, and have a great week!

Bumble Boy  (13+)
The story of a young boy and how some gifts are not always welcome.
#1134021 by RadioShea

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#1748826 by Not Available.

 312 Snowflakes  (18+)
The story of a man's final few minutes. Revised 6-29-07
#953417 by Grivante

 A Fairy Wish - Christmas Story  (E)
A Christmas Poppet & Teddy fairy story with short alternative ending
#1091803 by askpaddy

A Mouthful of Ashes  (18+)
Available in print on Amazon under 'Writer's Bump'
#1440615 by Robert 'BobCat'

Submit an item for consideration in this newsletter!

Word from Writing.Com

Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!

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Ask & Answer

The following is in response to "What Scares You?:

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Beacon's Valentine ⚓️ writes: I have read your Newsletter and I get ideas for my character. My main character is scared of being alone but she tries to shake that feeling off. I can bring my character to life but it takes work on my part. You're newsletter makes me think and I can apply it to my writing. Thank you for sharing your Newsletter. I enjoy reading it when it comes out.

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Annette writes: The one thing that scares me the most is fear. I know life is finite. I know accidents happen. But what keeps me up at night is worrying about stupid stuff - fear of little things that are hardly worth real trouble. I hope this makes sense.

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Paul writes: From a child to 63 when my back was fused, I feared almost nothing. In the 50’s being told to hide behind a curb from a nuclear bomb scared me until I figured out it was all BS, I could see over the curb lying there.

At 79 I’m starting to lose memories and I see that as dark holes in my life that I can no longer walk around in. Dementia frightens me, I walked my wife of 45 years through it for over a year before her death. She couldn’t remember me asking to marry her or her kids names or a myriad of other things. I do not want to put my family through that, but every one of them, 6 kids and 17 grand kids, say they’ll beat my corpse to death if I do something stupid like checking out early to avoid it. I’m more fearful of them than dementia, I brought them up and I know they’ll do it.

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Pumpkin writes: Hi, Shannon. I am afraid I will run out of money and be sick and homeless in my twilight years. It keeps me awake at night.
Since I was a child, I've had a fear of heights and of falling even at low heights.

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Lilli 💜's☕️ 🧿 writes: There are innumerable things that scare us and giving similar fears to our characters makes them feel real and believable. Additionally, I don't think giving characters things to fear or worry about is limited to horror or mystery genres.

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Grin 'n Bear It! writes: The only consistent fears I have had through my life are of heights and speaking in public. My mother's oldest sister was agoraphobic and she saw first hand how fears can be crippling. She made a concerted effort not to teach or model for my siblings and me fear, especially irrational fear. I don’t fear death itself, but not too thrilled about the potential causes and that split second of awareness that this is it is rather unsettling. Oh well- we can't all die in our sleep. I've always been open to new experiences and jumped at opportunities without thinking too far ahead about the possible consequences. I don’t know if it's been sheer naiveté or lack of imagination, but looking back, I've been very lucky. A little fear would have probably been a good thing. Fear serves a purpose, but as in many things, too much or not enough is neither desirable nor adaptive. Fear is an interesting emotion when you think about it as it often masquerades as other emotions and character traits: anger, forced cheerfulness, bravado, depression, conceit, etc.

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BIG BAD WOLF Wants Chocolate writes: There's always something to fear. Question is, how to handle it?

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Quick-Quill writes: Like you, I'm afraid of dementia. Each time I misplace something because I've PUT it somewhere or I don't remember leaving something it scares me. I have lost some important papers I remember having in my arms but have no idea where the pile has disappeared. I try to act like I'm looking but underneath I'm scared this is becoming a trend.

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Elisa, Stik of Clubs writes: My fears over the last decade have been surprisingly consistent: overpopulation and mis/disinformation. I suppose watching these fears come to pass is what's kept them in place. On the other hand, it's also surprising that they've stayed in place, given how much violence I've witnessed (not to mention my near-death experience when I was 30).

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dragonwoman writes: What scares me? How long of a list do you need? Dying alone, Alzheimers in my family, being unable to get around, losing touch with my family, losing my vision, etc etc.

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Elfin Dragon-finally published writes: Hmmm, what frightens me? I do have a bit of anxiety with crowds. And I have a fear of sometimes becoming like my mother. My character's fears? I suppose it depends upon the character and the story. Some fear the unknown, others may fear something tangible. And then some may just fear fear itself.

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Jeff writes: I definitely fear serious incapacitation more than death. With death, I've always been of the opinion that when it's your time, it's your time... but the idea of being alive and unable to take care of myself or utilize my faculties terrifies me. I also definitely have a strong fear of failure which is strange because when I have failed in the past it hasn't been that traumatizing... but somehow I build the fear of anticipated failure up into something way bigger than it ever turns out to be. *Rolleyes*

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Jenstrying writes: Sadly a lot sets me into a panic lately. However that being said I try to apply it to my writing. Even if it is one of my fear points. Failing at being a writer is one of the biggest since I took on the challenge of writing a novel. So I tell myself every day that I will sit with that novel and either write or stare at the page for 30 minutes. EVERY DAY. My day jobs take up more and more of my time but if I don't write it feels like there is something wrong. So I try to face the fear of the page (and of failure) every day.

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ForeverDreamer writes: My wife has severe COPD. One of my worst fears is losing her. Here is a piece about when it nearly happened: "Intensive Care [E]

I have a cousin who has a phobia of cats. Here is a story about the fear of cats. I got the idea partially from my cousin. This phobia can incapacitate her: "Ailurophobia [13+]

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Jill writes: Shannon, I'm not sure if this is where I respond to this newsletter, but here goes. And, by the way, thank you. This has inspired me in ways nothing has in a very long time.

I love monster and horror movies! I cannot remember a time when these scared me. That doesn't mean I'm terribly brave...I have had plenty of fears in my lifetime. Aside from the normal fears of rejection, my child getting hurt, getting sick, I seem to always have one irrational fear tucked away. When I was a child, I was afraid of being left alone...as in, everyone dying and leaving me.

After having a mild stroke and my uncle being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I was terrified I would eventually lose my mind to dementia. Now, I find my underlying fear is very basic... I'm afraid of being forgotten.

Thank you for this newsletter...it struck home.

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Princess Megan Rose writes: Fear. I still fear the virus even though I got vaccinated. I fear illnesses and the dentist. It isn't the best world anymore but I pray things get better. I would like to not be afraid of anything. I enjoyed this newsletter and I know I am not alone with fears. I worked in mental health and those people scared me but they didn't know that. I pray. This is how to defeat fears.

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sindbad writes: Hi, Shannon.

This is nice and yet articulate way of expressing one of the 10 primal emotions we have with our mind. You have indeed taken it to the next level. Great job with correlating fears with age..sindbad

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Schnujo writes: I think my fears are pretty normal for my age--Not having enough money to retire the way I want, dementia, no one to care for me, being debilitated and just suffering for years halfway between life and death, etc. I had a former NaNo character who had a lot of fears for her safety and also fears of what people thought of her. She was a bit neurotic, but for reasons as she'd had a bad past. The past caused the fears for her safety, but the measures she took as well as the fear responses she had were what she feared would cause people to think she was weird or crazy.

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Lilli 💜's☕️ 🧿 writes: What do I fear? Aside from the typical stuff like something happening to my family. I have a fear of balloons and bridges.

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Clear Diamond writes: I'm not big on newsletters, but I found this to be interesting and watching the Ted talks was a nice touch. Good work!

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dragonwoman writes: I have several chronic fears: falling, esp. downstairs. swimming in very deep water, and on and on. I have to agree that any other fears I have change from day to day, sometimes hour to hour.

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Sum1 writes: What scares me? Other than something being under my bed (imagine your cell phone falling to the floor, and when you go to reach for it, it's 'handed to you). Other than things like that, I'm with you, losing my faculties, unable to communicate, being taken care of by a nurse or my love, not knowing who I am or where I am, etc. I don't dwell on it, but it's there, like the boogeyman in the dark.

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Snow Valentine writes: What am I afraid of? Spiders and editing my stories. Is there a specific phobia for editing stories?

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🌕 HuntersMoon writes: No doubt about it! "Conflagration

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Marvelous Friend writes: In some ways, I think it helps to be able to communicate your own emotions as well. If I can write to tell you how I feel, what I am afraid of, what my obstacles are, and what my faults are, then I can also write this for a fictional character based upon my own experiences. Personally, I enjoy relating emotionally with my readers. It can even make the story more intense and personal.

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Steven (PLEASE BUY MY BOOKS!) writes: This is copy-pasted from the answer I gave Lilli in her Horror Newsletter from the end of August...

My worst fear is that something will happen to my kids.

As for phobias, I have a weird one - the fear of dropping things from a height. Not heights - bungee jumping is awesome! - and not just dropping things but dropping things when I'm really high up.

Spiders, snakes, insects, sharks, lawyers, politicians, goats, religious nutters, BMWs driven by people named Wentworth-Smythe - none of that actually elicits a fear response. Okay, maybe politicians... but that's just natural self-preservation. And considering politicians aren't real, just the creation of too much LSD and ergot in bread, that's probably not a legitimate fear...

They're what?! They can't be real! But they're stupid and moronic and don't care and we vote them in! Surely that's just something from Adult Swim! They're real? Even the ones in Texas? And Trump - he was real?

God, okay... I'm going to have to add something to my fears...

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New Year, Ol' JenD writes: Answers to the questions posed in your newsletter: I'm afraid of getting ill to the point that I can no longer take care of myself or get around on my own. It isn't really that I am afraid to die, I welcome a quick death. I'm afraid I will die slowly while my body gives out one organ at a time. The main character of my recent story is afraid to go around people. She becomes anxious at even the thought of having to go out in public. This causes her to suffer insomnia on nights leading up to days she has an appointment away from home.

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dogpack:saving 4 premium: DWG writes: During my youth, I had nightmares and didn't like horror, still not crazy about horror movies. Writing horror I am able, but try to keep it toned down. As my faith grew and my trust became very strong, fear has not had the grip upon me that it did years ago. Occasionally I have a fright or a worry that is bothersome, but with God I have been able to manage the situations. In scripture, it is said "do not fear" 365 times. We have one for each day. This helps me to remember "do not fear" so that I can believe and practice this saying. {ritem: 2236636}

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LinnAnn still newlywed. writes: Since most of my novels are fantasy, I'm not afraid of anything mentioned in them. No evil demi-Gods in them, no Selkies kidnapping my granddaughters for real. I just let my brain have fun. I still didn't find questions. I have PTSD. I sit with my back to a wall, and like facing the door. I've never been in combat, but I had a mentally deranged stepmother. I've learned to suck it up and deal with it. I hope I'm doing this right.

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KingsSideCastle writes: Great Article. My fears tend to change often. I think right now as I'm just starting my career, there's a huge fear of failure present. I think as a result a lot of the characters I write about share that same fear as well. All of them tend to be under the pressure of not being able to reach their goals. I think this fear serves as both a motivation driving the characters forward. At other times it serves as a blocker preventing characters from taking certain risks as they doubt their abilities to succeed at a particular task.

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Blueyez ~ Unplugged til March writes: Did you know the boogeyman is not just some made-up character who lives only in the stories told around campfires. No, the boogeyman is real and it's not even a man but it will still kill you. It's like an invisible shadow-creature, only not dark like a shadow, but weightless and silent just the same. It climbs on newborn flesh and clings there for life. You don't really notice it unless you live long enough. Then you start to notice the things this boogeyman does to you — sagging skin, wrinkles, aching bones. It steals memories, turns hair grey, and sometimes steals your hearing and eyesight. It will not leave you alone until it kills you. There is no escaping this boogeyman called Time.

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Patrece ~ writes: First, I thought it was cool that you chose that video. I think I have watched almost all of hers. When it comes down to it, she teaches that you must make it matter!

What are my greatest fears? It takes a lot to truly scare me, but one thing that always has and I'm sure always will is death preceded by long and lingering pain and suffering. I watched my Grandfather slowly deteriorate and die of cancer, as he lay in a hospital bed in the living room of his and grandma's house. I was 10 years old. My heart broke each time we went to visit. He was such a strong, stubborn, independent man before all of this. He was in terrible pain, and when the cancer hit his brain, he forgot who we were, and HE was frightened by being surrounded by what he knew to be strangers. He also couldn't understand any longer what was happening to him physically and begged to be released so he could find his way home. After 9 long months, he passed away on my 11th birthday at the age of 61.

My aunt (his daughter) went through the exact same thing at the exact same age as he did. The thing that made this scare me even more, wasn't that it was clearly hereditary, but that this aunt shared the same birthdate with me (although not the same year). Yikes! Now I kind of feel like it is some kind of omen hanging over me. And...I am soon to be 55 years old and can't help but wonder what my fate will be.

Other fears I have are the fears of ever losing my independence (for whatever reason), not having the ability to keep up on repairs to my home and having to find another way to live/survive, and the declining condition of my lumbar spine and the fact that it is already limiting what I can do and accomplish.

As for the fears of my characters, it depends on which character it is, what their role is, etc. But there is always something that must spur them on to accomplish what they must, be it the potential loss of someone they love, a loss of resources they once had, the need to prove they are worthy of something they are waiting for or to become, being accepted and/or looked up to by others, or needing to save the day. I never know until I am writing the piece they are in.

There you have it. Sorry this was such a long comment, but I just felt the need to share the background on some of it for it to make more sense.

*Vignette5* ~

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