Pronunciation Guide

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fear and Failure

Fear is a driving force for most of my characters, and something they all wrestle with throughout the story.

Sorek’s biggest fear is failure to protect those he loves and views as his responsibility. If he wants something, he goes after it, and he doesn’t really care who or what stands in the way; he is willing to do anything – even become a monster – to stop monsters. As long as his goal is accomplished and his people are free, he doesn’t care whether he lives or dies. He doesn’t fear combat, pain, torture, rejection, or conflict. But he has failed to save people before. He’s seen loved ones murdered. His actions – his call to arms – have led countless people to their deaths. He fears that he will fail again, that he isn’t good enough or strong enough for the task before him. He hides behind humor and a surly attitude.

Siserah is what writers often call the “big bad” (aka, the primary antagonist). Yet he and Sorek are very similar. Siserah’s driving fear is failing to protect his beloved people (expressed through the fear of losing control). He views the townspeople as his responsibility, and like Sorek, he’s willing to do anything and everything for them. Unfortunately, his version of “anything” crosses numerous moral lines. While he comes off as an evil control freak, his heart is actually in the right place. In his mind, control = peace, and peace = protection; therefore, control = protection. Topple Siserah’s carefully constructed control, and you will eventually topple Siserah.

Masrekah is probably the most emotionally fearful of all of the characters. Like Sorek, he doesn’t fear death, pain, or combat. What he does fear is rejection. While Sorek stubbornly pursues his desires, Mas hangs back and calculates whether pursuing his is worth the risk. More than anything else, though, Mas fears himself. He knows what he’s been, what he’s done. He can’t look at his hands without seeing blood, can’t seek happiness without thinking of the thousands of reasons why he doesn’t deserve it. He views himself as a monster, and he’s quite sure everyone else does/will as well. So he hides behind an icy pretense, manipulating those around him when it suits his purposes, and never letting anyone close.

Rab starts out fearing men and failing to protect Ari. She willingly puts herself in harm’s way to take care of her sister, but she lives haunted by the fear that someday, something will happen that she can’t stop or save Ari from. (This happens.) Her fear of men manifests itself first with Sorek, then Mas. Her deeper fears are opening up to people and allowing herself to be fought for and protected. She fears weakness (looking weak, being weak, people thinking she is weak) and believes needing protection or help is a sign of weakness. She fears she has no purpose apart from being her sister’s protector. She is afraid of pain and death, though she typically stands strong in the face of both. When deeply afraid, she either shuts it down by sheer will, or lashes out. She suffers panic attacks for a while.

Ari starts out afraid of her mother and of getting in trouble. She lives with the threat of punishment and explosive attack constantly hanging over her head. After the inn, she fears everyone, expects the worst from every person she meets. She especially fears men and physical contact, and lashes out to keep everyone away from her. Even once she starts healing, she remains terrified of being captured/trapped again, and is willing to do anything to avoid that fate. She deals with claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces) and nyctophobia (fear of darkness), as well as a host of other things related to the horror she endured. She also fears people viewing her as disgusting or ruined, which is how she views herself. She presents herself as hardened and untouchable because that is how she wishes she could be.

And this is just what I know right now. Haha!

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