Writing Fear


Fear. Pounding heart, searing breath. Vision blurred, chest tight, trembling, shaking, a buzzing head. Short, staccato sentences. Tight language.  Maximum impact word choice.

When you write fear you have to amp up the emotion. The best I’ve ever seen it done is in Kathy Reich’s Virals series, the only time I can remember reading a book that got my heart pounding and my body panic-electrified for real. It’s more than describing a character’s physical reactions, it’s making the reader feel the same terror that your protag does. It’s a moment where the reader will either be drawn further into the story or experience a disconnect from the emotion, withdrawing slightly from the narrative.

Here is a post by a great blog that touches on the more physical symptoms of fear a character might experience. It’s not something that I’ve seen talked about a lot, but it’s an important part of writing an effective scene. I’m still working on writing fear effectively. If anyone has any further resources, feel free to share.



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