Saturday, April 22, 2006


I posted a prompt in my writing group yesterday that suggested you choose a phobia and plop your phobic character right in the middle of it. It got me to thinking -- my characters don't (any of them) have serious phobias. At least not my heroines. And that is certainly not realistic, is it?

I'm scared of several things, a couple to the point of being incapacitated. I'm scared of heights -- really, really scared of heights. Some friends wanted to climb up onto the roof of their little house to watch fireworks once, and I got as far as the top of the ladder and froze. No one, including myself, thought we'd get me back down. I really was frozen in place.

I hate those drainage grates (Pam reminded me of this with her prompt response). It's second nature now to step over or around them. If, for some reason I have to walk on them, I freeze, break into a sweat and inch across. But I'd cross the street in heavy traffic to avoid doing that.

So, I need phobia's. Camilla can't be afraid of critters -- that's her job. And I know she's not afraid of heights, because that comes up in the story.

Tish... Geez, I haven't thought about her in a long time. But, nope, no phobia.

Liv... well, she may be phobic about being poor, and she's moderately afraid of dogs (but overcomes it). Nothing serious.

So -- any suggestions? What are some funky phobias I can use? Some unusual ones that your typical person wouldn't think about?

And, what about your characters? What are their fears?


darcy said...

I'm guessing you're not looking for the usual stuuf, right? No spiders or snakes? How do you feel about moths and butterflies? My s-i-l, a no nonsense but tremendously kind woman is afraid of the first. My son's darling girlfriend (tough as nails inside) is afraid of the other.

It's really pretty funny to see these strong, capable women brought to their knees by pretty, flitty, little bugs.

Beyond ctitters, people are afraid of all sorts of things. My boss WILL NOT ride in an elevator. A friend of mine will throw her whole dinner plate out if something mushy touches something else. If you can think it up, someone is irrationally afraid of it.

Tori Lennox said...

I do have one heroine who's deathly afraid of heights, but I can't think of any phobias for the rest of them. Hmm.

Some weird phobias:

Fear of dust (good thing I don't have this one! *g*)
Fear of being alone
Fear of fish
Fear of trains
Fear of fresh air (now that's got to be the weirdest!)

Judy said...

Hope this link comes through. Check this site out.. surely there's SOMETHING there she can be afraid of. I'm working on having my prompt done by Monday.. keep your fingers crossed.

Marianne Arkins said...


How can anyone be afraid of butterflies?? I bet if I wrote a character like that the editor would make me change it!


I'm liking that whole "fear of dust" thing -- wonder if that would fly with my husband?


Thanks for the link. As you probably know, it caused me to go a little nutty on Google.

But I still can't find a name for the fear of those grates in the sidewalks and the storm drains in the streets... those freak me out. I will walk barefoot across hot coals before I'd walk across a grate.

Anyone else?