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Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Unknown Fear

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, we'll look at what happens when an unknown fear or phobia is revealed.

Plot twist story prompts aren't meant for the beginning or the end of stories. Rather, they're for forcing big and small turns in the anticipated trajectory of a story. This is to make it more interesting for the readers and writers alike.

This is the second prompt in this series. Find the first, The Old Acquaintance, here.

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Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Unknown Fear

For today's prompt, let a character reveal a previously unknown fear or phobia. Maybe a good date goes bad when a character overreacts to the presentation of shrimp, or the sizzle of fajitas sets off a panic attack. Two characters may be forced to jump from a plane or go down an alleyway, but a fear prevents one from just doing what is needed.

(3 tips for writing cosmic horror that "goes beyond.")

There are a few ways to play this one. You can have the character say flat out, "I'm scared of X." Or you can have them behave in a way that a person who is afraid might act and let the other characters try to figure out what the heck is going on. In fact, character A's assumptions of what's really driving the scared character may reveal new things about character A and his or her worldview.

Fear is a great emotion to exploit. At times, it drives conflict. But it can also trigger humor and opportunities for empathy. Of course, fear can also beget fear.

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