1. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    Other Indications of Fear?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Gammer, Jul 17, 2009.

    So in my fantasy novel I have my main character going against and finding some scary stuff. Like finding mangled bodies near his otherwise peaceful villages, seeing monsters in the woods, have foretelling dreams about the monsters, etc. And this keeps building up until he faces the head monster of the group. So he's going to be afraid/nervous for good number of chapters.

    Problem is, after reading through some of my chapters, I've realized that when he's afraid I over mention how much his heart is pounding, and that his body is shaking. It's almost to the point where I mention it every other paragraph. But for the life of me I can't figure out others to indicate that he's terrified. Especially during his confrontation with the head monster.

    So can anyone suggest other indications of fear?
     
  2. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Sweaty palms or forehead
    Dry mouth
    Testicles shriveling a little (only for a male, of course)
    Suddenly cold extremities
    Perceived constriction of the throat
    Mental confusion
    Stuttering/stammering

    Edited to add: Jerky movements, maybe looking over shoulder or around
    Starting easily.
    Talking either too softly or too loudly.
     
  3. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    ?????

    It's been a long time since I felt fear, but I don't remember this, nor do I remember ever reading it as a symptom of fear.

    Guys, please hijack this thread as to whether or not you've felt this when afraid.
     
  4. Necromortis
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    Necromortis Member

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    I think that happens - I've never been truly terrified for my life before, but I've been relatively close a few times, and my entire body went cold. Which leads to the feeling of the testicles shrinking back up into the body a little.

    I think it's a bit of the 'fight or flight' mentality coming through - your body wants to protect them from harm if a fight comes into play.

    ~Christian
     
  5. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    you should show he is afraid through his actions. show that he is perhaps...paranoid. also, use words like anticipation, nervous, and maybe synonmys for pounding if you want to describe the beating of his hear, like stammering or his heart skipped a beat, sank etc. hope this helps, good luck
     
  6. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Necromortis,
    Most, if not all, of the physiological symptoms are products of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) in operation. Including the nausea, chest discomfort, dizziness and difficulty breathing I forgot on the earlier list. Most of them have to do with circulation; fight or flight response shoots most of the body's blood supply to the places needed to deal with the threat.

    Edited to clarify to whom I was responding.
     
  7. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Many of the above suggestions are pretty good, but you have to make sure you figure out the reactions that are specific to your character and their personality. A person who has a stone face all the time and barely talks (i.e. a stoic) probably won't start shaking and shivering out of nowhere... Unless, of course, you would want to show they are so scared that they are acting unlike themselves, and that's always a nice technique.

    If your character is stoic, for example, maybe they show their fear by pretending not to be afraid, keeping their faces straight, straining a bit, and then moving on. Or, maybe your character is a protective, guardian kind of personality; they could show their fear by acting even more overprotective over those they protect, like they could be a little more harsh around their kids.

    You get the idea - it doesn't matter whether they show their fear through big actions or the tiniest movements, but if you can make these reactions special to your character, it'd not only show when they're afraid or not, it'd also be a better way of revealing character personality, attitude, or behavior rather than saying bluntly "Bob was a stoic, a quiet man who never showed his emotions".
     
  8. Forde
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    Forde Member

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    This alone made me really bloody frightened!






    (Although my testicles remained bravely unshrivelled)
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Not to bring overmuch attention to this particular addition by RR, but fellahs know this one only too well. It's not the kind of thing we admit to, but it is a very real phenomenon. A simple anatomical response to a stressor in order to bring this delicate and vulnerable structure closer to the rest of the body, less exposed, safer.

    The body only knows three real responces:

    1) RUN!! Going to eat me!

    2) Ooooo! Looks good to eat.

    3) Hubba, hubba. Come hither, sexy britches.


    A contracted scrotum would be in response to #1.
     
  10. Schreiberling
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    Schreiberling New Member

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    He will become more and more jumpy and nervous, the more the "signs of evil" build up.

    Fear makes moody and unstable (he might loose nerves in normal everyday situations after some time)

    He might need some effort to suppress his threatened feelings.

    That creates an atmoshpere. I would not attach it so much to the cold sweat, shivering etc. Of course they are indicators, but I would more go for the psychological indicators.
     
  11. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    Mistaken sounds, imagining smells, darker interpretation of mundane sights ... Work those senses!
     

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