Friday, October 30, 2009

Boggarts and Other Bumps in the Night

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the students confront a boggart - a fearsome creature that manifests itself as whatever you fear most. The only way to defeat a boggart is to cast the spell "Ridiculous!" and laugh at your fear: to imagine Professor Snape, for example, holding a granny handbag and wearing a frumpy hat.

Resolution: Use Halloween - a holiday of all that goes bump in the night - as an opportunity to make your fears into companions, instead of enemies. You might dress up as your fear - in its "Ridiculous!" guise. Do you fear spiders? Find or make a cheesey eight-legged costume, and add big, thick, outdated eyeglasses. Do you fear the IRS? Dress up as a sexy auditor, with a briefcase full of torture devices like feathers for tickling the truth out of your subjects.

Variations: Utilize your fears in your art. If you're afraid of drowning, write a scene where your protagonist is blithely enjoying an ocean swim, but you - and the reader - know there's some hidden danger in those waves. If you're rehearsing for a performance, project that fear of drowning onto the scene: perhaps the antagonists lines wash over you like waves, each one making it harder for you to take a breath.
Or, tap into your character's fears. Try performing (or writing) a scene three times, changing what your character fears most each time. Make sure your character's fear is specific and vivid in your mind.

Click on the cover image to buy this book from a local indie bookseller. Thank you to Nydia for reminding me of the boggart lesson and to Ange for giving me a virtual kick in the bum to get this blog going again!

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