I talked about fight or flight in my last post, Write Like A Champion. Fear is one of our most primal emotions and kicks in our survival instinct like nothing else! As an author, you can harness all of that in your writing to connect to your reader and create the shared experiences that keeps someone up past 3am (even with work the next morning) for “just one more chapter”.
But the kind of scary I’m suggesting is not just serial killers or whether or not to put your bare toes in that gap between the floor and the cabinet in the kitchen at night (don’t!). It’s the emotions and memories that we don’t want to face or remember – experiences we don’t want to relive – anything we want to run away from might be something to explore in your writing. That’s you at your most primal and that’s when readers respond. Of course, some pasts are too painful. Maybe you’re not ready, maybe you’ll never be ready. That’s your journey.
Writing from deep emotion applies just as much to comedy. At its heart, The Wedding Crashers deals with many deep themes of acceptance, loneliness, getting older, etc. Write down five things that scare you. Then crumple that page up and write five more.