Monday, 14 May 2012

Xenophobia is scary!

X – Xenophobia
Fear of strangers or aliens is the dictionary definition of this word! And what a fabulous word it is to use when writing thrillers. I think it could almost be a spark for a damn good plot just on it’s own…
Fear, whichever way you use, it has been the engine for many a good thriller story. And it never matters whether the fear is real or imagined. If it is what the character feels then it is ‘real’. In fact, all the phobias are rich pickings for thriller writers. I can think of many stories where you never really know whether the character’s fear is justified or not until well into the tale or even at the absolute end.
What it actually means is that fear is an overwhelming emotion that we all recognise and indentify with. Who hasn’t imagined all sorts of creepy things when alone in the dark? And phobic fear is just as powerful to the person who suffers it. The outcome for both types of fear in a story is good old fashioned suspense! It is the stuff that keeps people turning the pages and biting their nails!
And keeping readers guessing is never a bad thing...
So do you have a phobic-type fear? Do you use it in your writing?


  1. I don't know if I have a phobic type of fear, but I do get frightened by the same things most people are afraid of -- Spiders, snakes, fire, blood, the dark. I did use my fear of snakes for one of my characters. She had to take a knife into the privvy b/c there are snakes. Kind of funny to imagine, but I guess really scary when you think a snake is going to crawl over your bum.

  2. Well I write about the things that freak me out like missing people and violence because it's my way of trying to make sense of why these things happen. An exploration of sorts. Great post!

  3. Cool word. I wonder if I could weave it into a contemporary story? :)
    I don't like snakes but wouldn't call it a phobia

  4. I don't think I've ever given a character a specific phobia - it would give an interesting slant to the stories though, wouldn't it?

  5. Hmm, that's a good question. I do have phobias, but I don't think I've used them in my writing. My MC's greatest fear is that he cannot live up to the man he believed himself to be and that is what propels him to surmount such great odds. But I suppose when you look at the theme of my book (a psychological thriller), you see that he wants and needs forgiveness for his sins, and I suppose we all want that, including me.

    Hi Pat! Thanks for dropping by, commenting, and following. I've gladly returned the favor and I hope I see you around.