Part of the joy I find in writing paranormal and fantasy fiction is the freedom to explore creatures and places not of this world. This opens up the ability to stretch the imagination a bit and do what I love the most—make stuff up! But in my research for my stories, I’ve discovered that often reality is stranger than fiction.
What Makes a Good Villain?
When I’m crafting a villain who plays upon the deepest fears of my characters, I strive to make one who is more than skin deep. I want the reader to be just a little sympathetic to my villain while he strikes terror into the heart of my heroine and/or hero. The process is often referred to as avoiding making cardboard characters. I like to think of it as the whole villain you love to hate.
Phobias Can Be Stranger than Paranormal and Science Fiction
Since my stories are often laced with laughter, I often like to find emotional and/or quirky methods of combat outside of blood and gore for my hero and/or heroine. In researching one of my stories, I stumbled across phobias. I realized that there were a multitude of them that I never heard of, some so unusual that it sounded as if someone made them up in a fictional story.
No Laughing Matter
Phobias are defined as an irrational fear or aversion to something, and as ridiculous as some of them may sound, they can cause true distress to the person affected by the phobia. Therefore, I don’t intend to make fun of anyone who might suffer from one of these unusual phobias, but I might occasionally utilize one or two in a story.
In fact, I used an angle on one of these phobias I listed below for a villain in a manuscript I’m working on. I’m not going to tell which one it is and ruin the surprise. I’ll let your imagination run wild with how I incorporated it into my character.
Five Interesting Phobias
1. Ancraophobia- also known as anemophobia, is an extreme fear of wind or drafts. Apparently telling someone "Don't get blown away" is more of a concern to some than I realized.
2. Aulophobia- an unknown, persistent fear of flutes. Luckily my daughter plays this terrifying instrument (to some) so if we’re ever faced with a villain with this phobia we already have the non-violent weapon of choice.
3. Arachibutyrophobia- the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. As an avid lover of peanut butter, I’d be in trouble with this phobia. With National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day this month (March 1st), it seems that there would be a lot of unhappy people if they couldn’t indulge in this tasty treat.
4. Pteronophobia-the fear of being tickled by feathers. Seems that those old cartoons had it right all along when they pulled out a feather to battle their enemy.
5. Asymmetriphobia- the fear of mismatched or asymmetrical objects. I’d never be out of ammunition for a villain suffering with this phobia. All I need to do is pull out the mismatched sock drawer in my laundry room to strike terror into the heart of the villain who suffers from this.
These are only a few of the odd phobias I ran across in my cyberspace searches. It seems that there is a phobia for just about everything.
What’s the Most Unusual Phobia You’ve Heard Of?
Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there.
While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her website, Facebook & Twitter
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