Top 10 Strongest Human Fears

We all fear many things. So should our characters. This article – Top 10 Strong Human Fears – on Listverse made me think about character fears.

Listverse names the Top Ten fears as follows:

  1. Failure
  2. Death
  3. Rejection
  4. Ridicule
  5. Loneliness
  6. Misery
  7. Disappointment
  8. Pain
  9. The Unknown
  10. Losing Your Freedom

Fear can drive a character toward their goal, and we all know our characters need a goal. *smiles* For instance, Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings feared the destruction of the Shire…loss of Freedom, Pain, Misery, Death and Failure would have been some of his fears.

What fear drives your characters?


Happy Writing!!

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  1. I love this list!

    My female MC's fears are failure, ridicule, disappointment and The Unknown. She gives off the "tough as nails" image and shields a lot of her true feelings but her problem is she really afraid to step outside of her box. She fears no one will like the "real" her.

  2. Thanks for the links! And that is a handy list.

    My MC is afraid of failure and rejection (but aren't we all?) πŸ™‚

  3. Jerry Seinfeld joked that people feared public speaking more than death; therefore at a funeral, people apparently prefer being in the casket to giving the eulogy. Definitely fear of failure/embarrassment/humiliation is a biggie.

    Which is probably why, unfortunately, teenagers may commit suicide when they are being repeatedly bullied – that fear/pain is bigger than the fear of death. When we get older, we learn from bitter experience that one can experience failure/humiliation, and even come out stronger.

    Definitely as writers we need to give our characters big fears/stakes if we want readers to hook into them.