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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Build a Story World

Heresy with Psychological Shadows

Folktales, fairytales and legends hold a repository of universal shadows. Just as settings can be a link between internal and external ‘soul’ language, so does this literature connect our personal fears and shadows to find our way through darkness. They offer a childhood’s nightlight to all ages. We may not all be afraid of the same things but we connect with the heart pounding, dry mouth sensations when we see them.

It’s most often in the ordinary world that psychological fears can wreak havoc. Just the slightest noise or silence that is out of sync causes us to pause and listen. As pain is a warning that something is wrong physically, so fear warns us of danger. Our intuitive radar activates. 

In the novel, The Blue Sword, immediately after she saw Corlath and his men visit, Harry tumbled back into the insomnia she had first experienced when adjusting to the desert sounds. And even those few weeks had been somewhat mild, “a sort of moral irritability that seems to go with the feeling that I ought to have spent all those hours sleeping. But this last week had been quite as bad—as sleepless—as any she had known. The last two nights she had spent curled up in the window-seat of her bedroom; she had come to the point where she couldn’t even bear to look at her bed.” And that is where Corlath found her when he arrived to kidnap her. Her physical body reacted to the danger before her heart and mind caught up.

Exercise: Choose a few possible physical radar reactions that your character could have in relation to an incident that happened in her childhood, or as a result of the situation she is in now?

Share: How does she react to the physical trigger, especially when she doesn’t know its cause?

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