Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Source: PowerPoint
Some years ago, when my youngest was just a baby, our family went to Yosemite for a week of camping with my hubby's brother and his family. The park provides large metal bins with locks for food storage. Why? Because Yosemite has bears.

Lots of bears.

We hadn't had any problems until the last night. Of course, that was the night we'd gotten lazy and not locked the food up. So, when a bear started going through our ice chests while we hid in our tents, it was a little tense.

What was particularly scary was when we found out that the people in the camp right next to ours had stored their ice chest IN their tent. Fortunately for them, we'd left plenty of food out, so the bear didn't go looking elsewhere.

I recently attended some live-shooter training at work. The swat team member who was doing the training discussed some of the effects of fear which I found especially pertinent to writing:
  • Sensory exclusion / distortion
  • Time distortion
  • Heightened sensory response
  • Panic
  • Fainting
  • Loss of bladder / bowel control
  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Loss of near vision
  • Tunnel vision
  • Scared stiff (I'm guess he meant this literally)
  • Scared speechless
Fortunately, most of my writerly fears don't manifest in this way. Mostly. lol

Can you think of any more to add to the list?


  1. Glad the bear didn't come looking for food in your tent!
    I think time distortion and tunnel vision happen often when we are writing.

  2. but those bears just want to play :)

  3. Fill the bears tummy and he'll leave you be, good to know haha thankfully none of those fear responses either.

  4. That must have been terrifying. The scared speechless thing reminds me of nightmares where you try to scream and no sound comes out.


  5. I should probably feel that list of fears before sharing my work with my CP's. Because they can be like a pack of bears when they rip through my brilliant sentences and reduce them to scraps. :P

  6. That is so scary. Great fear list. I'm gonna steal some. :)

  7. Fear isn't always a bad thing. Like if your friend shoplifts but you don't do the same out of fear of getting caught. Sometimes fear can go where a conscience gets blocked or overlooked. Glad the bear that get you or anyone else.

  8. Although I wouldn't suggest your characters lose bowel control in your book. :)

  9. I would have totally freaked out. I used to have nightmares about bears and was scared sleeping in a locked car in the Smokey Mountains. Glad they didn't bother you.

  10. That would be terrifying! I've been to Yosemite before so I know what you're talking about. Luckily I didn't come face to face with that bear. I'm such a scaredy cat I probably would've gotten myself killed, haha. Good thing you kept your head.

  11. What a scary experience! I stay in hotels! I would add to your writing list forgetting to shower, eat, sleep! LOL!

  12. Great examples of real life research. I'm going to include these traits in my characters:)

  13. Before I trained myself to function under pressure, despite the adrenaline rush (I'm a nurse), I found that fear impaired my ability to think and recall information.

  14. You get to go to the coolest classes!

    Rofl...luckily I make it to the bathroom while writing, although it's been close a couple of times when someone else is in there.

    This summer we went to Sequoia Nat'l. park. We camped at a campground and the ranger guy in charge of the campground was a strange little guy. He apparently told my husband that we needed to keep the fire going all night--that we didn't need to watch it--just sort of bank it. He apparently said it was to keep the bears away.

    Well I thought that sounded LOONY and dangerous. I was NOT going to be THAT idiot who burns down the Sequoias. So I was putting the fire out when my husband came and got irate at me. "The bears will smell us!" he complained.

    Well I have news for him. After living in Alaska and Colorado where we had bears in our yard (and sometimes tent) frequently, I can say with all truthfulness that campfires ATTRACT bears more often than not.

    Heck, our scouts went on a camping trip and sunk the salmon they caught in a strong box beneath rocks in a river and it was STILL torn to shreds when they got back from their hike. Bears like food and can smell it for miles. Campfire areas often smell like food.

    Now if the ranger had talked about ammonia spray, I might have believed him.
    Despite my "misplaced" fire safety, no humans were eaten by bears that night.

  15. I don't know. There are just times when the fear is so blazingly potent that bladder control goes right out the window. I'm talking about staring down the barrel of a howitzer when you see the rabid glint in the gunner's eye as he triggers it, knowing you can't move. I'm guessing battlefields are ripe with stench.

  16. In all the camping, backpacking, hiking I've done over the years,never had a bear problem until moving to Tahoe. It's a bear habitat and they roam the neighborhood nightly. Seriously! The first week I was here a bear broke into a garage across the street from me. I mean he ripped the door off and broke in.

    So far, I've not had any personal encounters, but I can promise you all if not most of those fear responses, would probably kick in if I came face to face.

  17. Yikes! My dad is a backpacker and has had some run-ins with bears. Scary stuff!

    That little list explains exactly what I felt last week in church when I had a panic attack out of nowhere. Craziness.


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