Even though some phobias may appear unreasonable or silly to those who don’t have any, they are no laughing matter. When someone encounters something he has an excessive fear of, he experiences the following: rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, anxiety, panic, terror, and/or dread.
Phobias are a like a treasure chest full of gold for writers. They add both depth and uniqueness to our characters. Is your character afraid of looking up? Does your character refuse to go outside on windy days? Maybe your character is terrified that gravity will quit working. Or does your character refuse to watch Ghostbusters because of Slimer?
Anablephobia is the fear of looking up. It could be a fear of looking up at the sky, or it could be a fear of looking up at the ceiling. It could be a fear of looking upwards at all.
How would one develop such a fear as this? Maybe your character saw a loved one killed by a huge hailstone falling out of the sky. Maybe your character saw a ceiling fan fly to pieces and seriously injure someone close to them. Pick one of the previous situations or one from your own imagination and write a story about it.
Anemophobia is fear of the wind. Your character could fear just gentle springtime breezes or it could only be a fear of really strong, almost tornado strength winds. Or it could be a fear of any kind of wind, even if it comes from just a ceiling fan.
Your character has experienced a severe trauma, and there was a gentle breeze blowing at the time. That is one thing that seems to stand out in her mind—the breeze. Now, anytime she feels even a gentle breeze, she has a panic attack because all of the memories of her traumatic time revisit her. Develop a story about how this fear developed and how she manages to overcome it.
Auroraphobia is the fear of the northern lights, either the aurora borealis or the aurora australis. The only reason I can think of for fearing the northern lights would be if something extremely traumatic happened while they could be seen.
I think that I would have my character witness a murder taking place in the light of the aurora borealis. When the murderer turns and looks at the character, she recognizes the murderer, and he recognizes her. She stands there, frozen with fear when someone yells her name and breaks her trance. She shakes herself out of it, turns, and runs away. She doesn’t remember anything she saw, but now she is scared to death of the northern lights.
Write a story where she confronts her fears to find out the reason why. Along the way, she also puts a murderer, someone she thought to be a close friend, behind bars.
Barophobia is the fear of gravity or the fear that gravity will fail. Maybe your character simply does not understand what gravity is. Maybe your character fell from a trampoline and was seriously injured. Maybe your character has read a very detailed science fiction novel or watched a movie about a planet where the gravity disappears for no reason. The consequences when gravity disappears are horrible.
Your character’s fear of gravity is so strong that it begins to make this character fear for his or her own well-being, so he seeks help. Write a story that details how he developed this phobia, how he finds help, and whether or not he is cured.
Blennophobia is a fear of slime. Slime is disgusting. There probably aren’t many of us who actually look forward to touching anything, no matter what it is, that is slimy. There are people that slimy objects cause serious problems. Would someone with this phobia have an issue with watching Ghostbusters?
What if your character has blennophobia? It is her job to clean houses. Not just any houses, but houses that were holiday rentals. Not all travelers are slobs, but let’s face it, some of them are. Her job is to go in and make the houses spotless once again. Half-filled glasses of orange juice that look like science experiments make it hard for her to breathe. Wet towels that have been left lying on the bathroom floor for weeks and weeks not only smell, but they have started to mold and cause her heart to race. Slime coats the walls and disgusts her. It also makes her wonder if this house is haunted. More than anything, she wants to leave, but she has work to do. This job is a necessity; there are no others available. She has many bills to pay and a young child to support. Does she find relief from this phobia or not? Write a story telling what happens while she is cleaning this horribly messy and disgusting house.
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