There’s basic horror movie monster fear – in the words of Twenty-One Pilots, “Death inspires me the way a dog inspires a rabbit.” Prey fear. Fear or spiders, snakes, heights, deep water, closed off spaces, clowns, dogs, the dark. This fear keeps us safe from harm, or at least that is what it is meant to do.
There are social fears that are culturally based, such as rejection, humiliation, failure. Fear of being alone, of not living up to your potential. These fears are meant to keep us in harmony with the tribe. Interestingly, men’s fear of women is social fear, but women’s fear of men is prey fear. Or in Margaret Atwood’s words, “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.”
Then there are the personal fears, the deeply individual fears that shake us. The fear of losing our children, our parents. Existential fears like there not being a god, or that your life will be meaningless, or that you are on the wrong tract of life altogether. A fear of helplessness in the face of insurmountable odds. These are the most interesting fears and the hardest ones to write about.
The end effect has been for me to ask myself, what are you afraid of? And the answer appears to be: everything. That would probably make me a great horror writer. We’ll see what it does for me as an erotica writer.