Friday, June 24, 2011

Frightening Encounters

In just about every book I've read, the main character experiences a frightening event. Sometimes it's an out of the blue moment, like a car wreck or getting attacked. Other times it's the sudden death of a loved one or the tragedy of war that scares them. Whatever it is the main character is changed by this event whether for better or for worse.

I think of the book The Count of Monte Cristo. Here was a guy who had everything - career, family, hot fiance, but then Wham! He's suddenly thrown into jail for a crime he didn't commit. For years this event effected him negatively, even after he escaped from jail. His lust for revenge was too great. But slowly, over time, he learns to forgive and finds love again (I liked the movie version ending better where he ends up with Mercedes).

Obviously this example is extreme. Most of us don't have life shattering events of this nature, but we do have our terrifying moments. I've had mine, and I like to think I've survived them. They've helped shape who I am for better or for worse, hopefully for better.

On a lighter note, this is making me think of a good friend of mine who went to a late night movie. There was only her and one other person in the whole theater. Towards the end of the movie, the stranger dude sitting three rows behind her starts sharpening a knife. She can hear the metal blade slicing against the sharpener in long strokes. Machete perhaps? This goes on for over thirty minutes, and she's too scared to move. As soon as the movie ends, she bolts. She doesn't even turn around to see who it was or what they were doing.

Why didn't she leave sooner? Fear perhaps, but regardless this was a terrifying event for her. Did it change her life? Not really, but it makes for a great story idea. :)

What are some frightening events that have happened in your life?


mrs.byles728 said...

I can not believe that happened to your friend. I think I would have been too scared to move during the movie too. When I went see the midnight showing of Drumline (when I was in high school) a young four year old boy was playing with a lighter behind me. He almost set my hair on fire. After the event, all I could think of was: Why was a four year old holding a lighter? And why was that little boy at a midnight showing of Drumline?

The McClellan Family said...

When I was 8 yrs old, there was a thick wood behind our house. We would go exploring and one day we found an old eery cabin. There was nothing in there but a porcelain green toad. I reached out to touch it and my brother grabbed me. Shrieking he told me there were dead people and to get out. I couldn't go back to the woods for months!!

S.B. Stewart-Laing said...

Ah, that movie theatre story is scary! Probably the scariest thing that every happened to me was almost being killed by my then-significant-other when I was 13. Life-altering, yes, but in some ways rather freeing. Having survived that, I have felt more open to new adventures, because seriously, compared to that experience, stage fright or fear of rejection is small potatoes.

Jennifer Lee Young said...

Hi Rachel - I have an award for you on my blog! Please stop by.

Jennifer Young (Castles in the Sky)

K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

Growing up I used to get night terrors. I'd panic that someone was in the room about to hurt me, but I couldn't wake up, couldn't make myself scream, and couldn't move. Since I was half asleep, half awake, everything felt real yet I couldn't wake up from it like with a nightmare.

Megan said...

Please tell me you remember our campout. Someone walking around our tent? Moppy freaked out, we let him out of the tent, and he beomes calm as though someone is petting him. Someone was out there and we could have died!!! Good thing we had that butter knife.

carrieannebrownian said...

Eight years ago this August I was run over by a car (driven by a woman in her late 80s) and pinned underneath for 15-20 minutes. I had four surgeries on my right leg and later three plastic surgeries to remove the first- and second-degree burn scars on my stomach and abdomen. Even though both legs were pinned under the back wheel, only the right leg broke. I landed in such a way that my right leg rolled on top of my left leg and protected it. What a blessing that I'm ambidextrous but use or prefer the left side of my body for most things, since I broke the right leg in more ways than one!

Emily Rittel-King said...

Wow! Creepy guy in the movie theater. Good one. I was sleeping on my coach in my apartment and a drunk man was trying to get in the door. He was pounding on it, swearing through it, yelling horrible things at me. I think he had our apartment confused with his and he finally realized this (or passed out) and left. To make it scarier, I had no contacts in so I was blind. It was terrifying.
Great blog post!

Rachel McClellan said...

Megan - I'd forgotten about the camp out until now. Thanks for reminding me how we were almost butchered to death. :) Great story potential.

Carrie Anne - Crazy! I can't imagine being in that situation - now there's a story you need to write! If I wrote it, the MC would probably come out of the event with a cool superpower and uses it to get revenge on old people. :)

As for the rest of us, it sounds like we've all had our moments. Now make sure you give your characters there's.

Alleged Author said...

Oooh...frightening event. Hmmm. One time a tarantula crawled over my foot when I was outside minding my own business. There are a ton around my house. Spiders = bitey = scary = poor AA.

Following you now, too! :)

Morgan said...

I'm so glad your friend was OK! I have no idea what I would do in that situation.

Most of the times I can remember being really scared came from a misunderstanding, or thinking there was danger when their wasn't really any. I was terrified the other day because I was driving home from college and I started to run out of gas... I spent over thirty minutes looking for a gas station, but there was nothing but fields on either side. When I got down to one bar (out of twenty or so), I was terrified my car would stop and I'd have to walk ten miles through the middle of nowhere and possibly get kidnapped or robbed or something. But thankfully, I found one before that happened :)