Rachel Rueben

Feeling the Fear

Last week, Karen Vaughan talked about stress in previous article and how she dealt with a series of stressful situations and managed to parlay some of it into her work.  However, my biggest problem isn’t stress, it’s fear.  I’m the kind of person who watches news reports like this one on burning mouth syndrome and immediately think I have it too.  So imagine the waves of panic I felt when I decided to become a self-published author.  I mean, what if I suck?  What if I get writer’s block?  Is that a lump I feel?

So how does someone like me deal with this kind of stuff?  I use it.  All of it.  I spread fear around like a virus.  I use it in my blog, my books and even in query letters.

Dear Editor,

Have you ever thought about what’s in your coffee?  According to leading food scientists; pesticides, arsenic and bug poop.  If you want to read more, just hit reply and I’ll be happy to submit my 1,200 word article: “Little Cups of Death.” 


Rachel 🙂

See what I did there?

Be Your Character’s Worst Nightmare

Writing Tips
via We Know Memes

If our characters don’t fear anything, what’s the point?  Even Darth Vader feared being discovered!  He knew Luke Skywalker and the Jedi would try to stop him the moment he began building the Death Star.

So why kill your darlings when you can torture them?  Kidnap them, push them into a ravine, put them in jail, heck, rain down sh*t from the sky!  No really, buckets and buckets of sh*t!  As you can see, I’m no rookie when it comes to doling out punishment just call me Mistress PenMaster.  But when you throw your characters under the bus, make sure they feel the fear.  Give them sweaty palms, make them lose their voice, heck, why not hand out a case of uncontrollable tremors.  Find out what keeps your characters up at night and make that very thing happen.

Find the Meaning in Their Suffering

Recently, I read The Story of O and was seriously disappointed with the ending.  After reading page after page of violent BDSM the ending was a huge let down.  It wasn’t because the character died but because her suffering meant nothing.  The whole story seemed rather pointless.  Don’t do this to your reader!  Someone has to learn, walk away or overcome something.  People read to make escape the world, authors write to make sense of it.  If we’re really lucky, we’ll get readers who are trying to make sense of the world too.  That’s a match made in heaven!

Okay back to you, have you ever given your characters your fears?  If so, what was the result?



Rachel Rueben went to school to become an administrative assistant but instead, wound up an author.  In her defense, she tried freelance writing, virtual assisting, and blogging to pay the bills, but creating worlds was her one and only passion.

This past summer, Rachel entered the sacred order of authorhood with the release of her first novel “Hag” which made it to #10 on the Amazon’s Women’s and Girl’s Literature list.

To find out what Rachel is up to you can check out her new site at: http://www.rachelrueben.com

She continues to blog about her publishing journey at: http://www.writingbytheseatofmypants.com

You can also find Rachel on Twitter @RachelRueben

And catch her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelRueben


3 thoughts on “Feeling the Fear”

  1. My characters experience lots of fear. Sometimes, they are being hunted by bad guys. Other times, THEY are doing the hunting (righteously, of course) The greatest moment of fear I can think of comes in The Maker – Lone Wolf book 3. The main characters are being pursued inside the planet. To protect his wife, Wil sends her ahead while he & his friends bring up the rear. One of the mudmen gets past them. With his dying spasm, he catches Matilda and drags her into a bottomless pit.


  2. I think the two greatest fears I’ve written into my books were fear of a child being lost (in Athena’s Daughter) and fear of drowning (in Song Without Words.) Both were hard to write because I had to immerse myself in those fears to make the scenes real. In Athena’s Daughter I had a mother searching for her child, the feeling of looking for a needle in a haystack, the panic, and finally giving in to those thoughts about what might have happened to the child if her child had been abducted. Very hard stuff for a mom to write! In Song Without Words I had to describe what it would feel like to have the water rise steadily around the character while she had no way out, and her state of mind when the water finally closed over her face. Readers have commended me on both those scenes, telling me they experienced the fear of the characters right along with them, so it was worth it. 🙂


  3. I have many fears on a daily basis in real life that I try to minimize so I can function. But, that doesn’t stop me from spreading fear to my characters, as you so nicely explain in this article. We writers sometimes do that, have to do that. Sometimes, to overcome writer’s block, I ask myself, What would make so-and-so cry? or crap themselves? Let me add a hearty bwa-ha-ha. Love this article!


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