Hi, everyone! This is a post about how to show fear in writing through the things that the character actually does.
The great American author F. Scott Fitzgerald had a sign over his writing desk that read:
Action is character.
And I think about this all the time.
In the past, I’ve made a list of ways to how to describe fear in writing (along with lists to describe other emotions), and lots of people have found them useful! But action makes the emotion even more vivid…and it’s only through action that a story can move forward.
When a character is anxious or scared, you usually want the readers to be on the edges of their seats, too, and that’s when “show don’t tell” becomes especially important. For example:
Telling: Ella felt terrified of the serial killer on the loose as she went to bed.
Showing: Before Ella…
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