In my novel, my main character travels to alternate realities and finds something interesting every time she crosses over. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s fantastical, and on one trip, things take a turn and she finds herself in a creepy abandoned house facing a group of men who aren’t going to let her out of there alive.
It’s very easy to write that she’s scared. It’s very easy to write that the men are menacing.
What isn’t easy is describing with great accuracy how frozen she feels, how she’s tasting blood in the back of her throat, how the sweat on her palms makes her want to wipe them on her knees, but she’s too afraid to move and bring his attention to her more than it already is.
And then, by contrast, the amiable, almost conversational way the man who has her cornered is talking to her – it just adds to the tension. His words are reassuring, but the reality is that he’s going to kill her. She knows it. We know it.
We just don’t know when he’s going to strike. Or if his friends are going to show up and get her first.
That feeling…that horrible moment when you know you’re probably not going to get out of this…
I’d say I can’t even imagine it, but I can. It’s my job to. I just hope to God I never truly experience it.
I’ve come close enough, though. And that moment, amplified, makes for some gut-clenching terror. I remember having to flex my hands after I wrote that chapter, because my fingers were so tense.
What about you? Have you ever read something that made you feel the fear on a very personal level?