I recently had the chance to experience terror, second-hand. Maybe 'experience' is too strong a word since I didn't experience it, but I heard about the effects of terror.
I know 2 people who are terrified of dogs. Not just scared, terrified. I'm not sure why one person is, but the other person was attacked by dogs when she was a child and she's never gotten over it. Both people -- strong, intelligent, independent women -- become children again when confronted by a dog. In fact, the one person is terrified of any mammal (bunny, horse, dog, cat) and avoids them at all costs.One of those people recently had a close encounter with a dog. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say, she got Way Too Close to a dog and it absolutely threw her for a loop.
The interesting thing about this is: it gave me a great idea for a book, especially when our neighbor's dog got loose and ran around like a Crazy Thing for a morning. That dog was having a great time: jumping in leaves, chasing chipmunks (chipmunks in our yard have never seen a dog so they were TERRIFIED), snapping at imaginary foes... pure bliss. I laughed just to watch him then I realized that if one of those people who were afraid of dogs had been there, she probably would have felt attacked, cornered, threatened.
Fear is powerful. That made me think about how to have a fear become a murder weapon.
That led me to think: what terrifies me?
I honestly can't think of anything. Oh, if a giant spider came at me I'd scream. Then I'd grab a shovel and start whacking. I suppose a gang of thugs would terrify me. I suppose being thrown off a cliff would terrify me. But I couldn't think of anything that I might encounter on a daily basis that terrifies me. That started me thinking ... do those who are afraid walk around, checking their environment for potential danger? Fear is a powerful weapon and one that can be used as a threat, an inducement, and relief from fear can be used as a reward.
I love when daily living becomes entwined with my writing. I can't WAIT to sit down and start writing the book (I already have the title: "Dogged". Heh heh). It just goes to show you that one woman's fear is another woman's inspiration. I'm going to try to keep that in mind the next time I'm spooked or scared -- maybe somebody is taking notes and I'll show up in a book (or a song or a story).
It's all a matter of perspective ...