A phobia is an irrational fear of a person, a place, an object, or an activity. When confronted with the object of one’s fear, a person could possibly go into a panic attack or worse. Phobias are to be taken seriously and not disregarded as something that just affects one who is thought to be crazy.
Pick one or more out of the following phobias and use it or them in your story to add to a character’s personality. Who knows? The outcome of your story could be dependent upon the phobia you choose to bless him or her with.
Agyrophobia is the fear of streets or the fear of crossing the street. A person with agyrophobia is afraid that crossing the street will cause him harm, even if there is absolutely no threat awaiting him on the other side and no traffic.
Writing Prompt: What if there actually was something waiting to harm your character when he crossed the street? And what if it was something that no one else could see?
Amaxophobia is the fear of being in or riding in a car. It is also known as hamaxophobia or ochophobia. In very intense cases, even the thought of riding in a vehicle can bring on a panic attack. I guess this phobia could be brought on by something really traumatic happening to an individual while he or she was riding in a car.
Writing Prompt: An Amish person could have this fear and never even realize it. Either have an Amish person discover this fear on a rare trip to the city, or have someone with this fear run away to live with the Amish.
Do you know someone who is always cleaning things up? It is a compulsion for this person has to pick it up any item that is out of place and put it away. If there is an unclean spot, it must be made clean. This person probably has ataxophobia, a fear of disorder or untidiness. On most days, the state of my house makes it obvious that I do not have this particular phobia.
Maybe I’m reaching a bit, but I feel that atephobia, a fear of ruin or ruins, would be closely related. Why? Because when something is in ruins, it is most untidy and disorderly.
Writing Prompt: Have your character with has ataxophobia fall in love with someone who does not share this phobia. The object of your character’s affections is just the opposite and this person’s life is full of disorder and untidiness. Does this relationship work out, or is it doomed for failure?
Then there is autodysomophobia, fear of one that has a vile odor. This phobia is probably closely related to automysophobia, the fear of being dirty and bromidrosiphobia or bromidrophobia, the fear of body smells. I understand this phobia. It definitely is not pleasant to be near someone who smells bad. Maybe a person with this phobia fears that it is something that can be caught. Maybe he is afraid that if he hangs around a person with a vile body odor for too long that he will automatically have one as well.
Writing Prompt: What extent will your character with this phobia go to in order to avoid a person with a vile body odor? What if she works at a grocery store and has to check out a person who has seemingly forgotten how to bathe? How would she react if a frequent customer had an extremely bad body odor?
Carnophobia is an abnormal, persistent fear of meat. I can see being afraid of the meat if it happens to start crawling across your plate. It is supposed to be dead and not able to move. Seriously, to the people that have this fear, their reasons are valid. Livestock are given hormones; maybe they don’t want to eat meat from cows or pigs that have been injected with them. Bad press from environmentalists may have caused them to fear the impact that livestock have on the environment. Negative stories about the effects that eating meat could have on your physical health have deterred many from eating it. Many people with this phobia have simply become vegetarians.
Writing Prompt: What could have caused your character to have this phobia? What kind of reaction would your character, a person with carnophobia, have if she discovered that she had unknowingly ingested meat? Would she sue whoever fed her the dish, especially if they knew she had this phobia?
Consecotaleophobia is the fear of chopsticks. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem, as long as your character lived in a culture where you weren’t expected to eat with chopsticks.
Writing Prompt: But if your character married someone who did eat with them, what would happen? Would your character be so afraid of chopsticks that a thief, armed only with a pair of chopsticks, would be able to rob him blind?
Omphalophobia, the Fear of Belly Buttons
Myrmecophobia, the Fear of Ants
Pediophobia, the Fear of Dolls
Bogyphobia and Other Fears
Entomophobia, the Fear of Insects