Everyone has fears. For writing it’s one of the easiest ways to develop your character. Give them a fear or two, and *poof* they’re more rounded characters.
Ever since I started writing novels, I dutifully gave each character a random fear and maybe even have them deal with it at some point in the story. However, I never really understood the fact that it’s not just the fear itself that matters, but also how the character deals with that emotion.
I’m terrified of spiders and heights (I know, I’m so original) however; my reaction to encountering each fear is completely different. If I come across a spider, or accidently touch one, I can usually control that fear and calmly walk away. For heights, when the fear hits me, I panic and usually can’t do anything but fall down to my knees—lying down’s even better—and whimper.
Someone else might be equally afraid of the same thing and deal with their fears completely differently. That reaction, not the fear itself is what makes characters interesting.
Do you spend time giving your characters specific fears? How would they react when they’re forced to face those fears? How do you react when facing your own fears?