From Writers Helping Writers:
Debilitating fears play an important role in story and character arc, so we’ve decided to delve into this topic for our next thesaurus at Writers Helping Writers. Not just any fears, though—the virulent ones that stymie characters and derail them from their goals and dreams. To help you write your character’s greatest fear realistically, we’ll be exploring the following aspects for each entry:
What It Looks Like. Fears look different for each character based on a number of personal factors, so we’ll be providing a variety of manifestations for you to consider. Know your character’s personality, their sensitivities, and their personal boundaries—things they’re not willing to do because it will be triggering. Being intimately familiar with your character will give you a good idea of how their fear will manifest in various areas of life.
Common Internal Struggles. Fear will cause the character to doubt, obsess, and worry—many times, to an unhealthy degree. If they recognize that their preoccupation borders on the irrational or that it’s making certain desirable things impossible, that knowledge will war with their need for safety, generating internal conflict. The way they deal with it (or don’t deal with it) will have consequences that will impact their forward progress, so this is an important aspect of fear to think about.
Hindrances and Disruptions to the Character’s Life. If your character has a debilitating fear, you’ll need to show it clearly to readers through the context of their current story—no expository paragraphs or info dumps. An effective way to do this is by showing how the fear impacts the various areas of the character’s life. In this field, we’ll offer ideas on the minor inconveniences and major disruptions a fear can create.
Link to the rest at Writers Helping Writers