Boo! Mwahahaha, welcome to my special Halloween post. What SCARES You? This isn't about writing horror, or monsters, or scary scenes. Though there are many wonderful posts out there about these things, including this post on Enchanted Inkpot about how to write a monster.
No. This is about writing what scares you, as the writer. Possibly the most frightening thing you will face. But also the most necessary and powerful step forward in your journey.
I know I've mentioned this concept before. That my hero, Libba Bray, spoke about this at the LA SCBWI Writer's Day conference last April. She encouraged us to banish our "inner editor" and for that first magical draft, to "write what scares" us. I was working on a new WIP at the time. One that seriously frightened me. Not only was it a new style for me (alternating POVs AND present tense, neither of which I'd attempted previously), but the subject matter itself was dark and intense compared to what I'd done previously.
The thing was, I loved it, and I knew that. But I was terrified what others may think. Was it really any good? Or was it all in my head?
My wonderful agent had already encouraged me to challenge myself, but hearing Libba's speech was perfect timing for me. It gave me the confidence to carry forward and just let it all out. To NOT censor myself. And it was exhilarating. I was on fire. I've never written a first draft that fast. Or felt so totally wrapped up in it.
That's how I want to feel when I write. And you know what? Yes, I had to revise it. No, it wasn't perfect. But, it turned out to be a clear improvement in my writing. A leap beyond what I'd done before.
Isn't that what we all want? To improve in our craft? To enjoy it? So I'm here to tell you that when the wind howls, and the shadows seem to swell, don't hide beneath the covers and ignore it. Open up your computer, and type what scares you. Because it may just be that little part of your soul that you've kept trapped inside, knocking to get out.
Really, what's the worst that could happen? You don't have to ever share it if you choose not to. But you might surprise yourself.
Now tell me, have you written what scared you? If not, will you try it now?