by Elizabeth Huff

One of the best ways a character you create can grow is to have him/her overcome a fear in order to complete his “mission.” Think of Indiana Jones and his fear of snakes. There are hundreds of fears and phobias you can give your characters, but here are ten of the ones I think are among the strangest.

  1. Atelophobia – Fear of imperfection.
  2. Bibliophobia – Fear of books.
  3. Heliophobia – Fear of the sun.
  4. Athazagoraphobia – Fear of being forgotten or ignored.
  5. Nephophobia – Fear of clouds.
  6. Homichlophobia – Fear of fog.
  7. Dromophobia – Fear of crossing the street.
  8. Pagophobia – Fear of ice or frost.
  9. Achluophobia – Fear of darkness.
  10. Necrophobia – Fear of death or dead things.

Even what appears to be the most boring of fears can make a good story given the right plot and lots of tension. For example, Your main character suffers from the above mentioned Dromophobia. He can’t cross the street and even looking over to the other side makes him break out into a cold sweat. Not a horribly huge problem until his grandmother becomes sick and must have the medicine that is only available from a hospital across town. To make matters worse, she will need it in the next few hours or it will be too late! Not exactly a Pulitzer winner, but you see my point.

Aside from all the real phobias mentioned, you can also invent your own. Take “Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia” which is the fear of big words or “Anachrophobia” which is a fear of temporal displacement. The common formula seems to be to take the Latin or Greek term for what you are going to be afraid of, add “o” or “a” (whichever sounds better) and then end with “phobia.”