What is your protagonist’s greatest fear? Is it a person? A place? A thing? Something that could happen to a loved one?
Before we continue, let me ask: What is your protagonist’s most prominent trait?
You might be confused right now, wondering what the connection is between your protagonist’s – or really any of your characters – greatest fear and most prominent trait.
Since your personality traits develop as you grow up and experience this wonderful thing called life, then it could be said that some of your characters’ traits are developed because of their backstory.
To use one of my own characters as an example:
Henry’s most prominent trait is protectiveness. His greatest fear is for one of his loved ones to die on his watch when he knows he can do something to prevent it.
Question: Which event in Henry’s backstory led him to be so protective?
Answer: The death of his parents in a car accident six years prior to the first book in the trilogy. This has led to him believing he can protect his wife by not telling her about the century and a half old conflict between his family and their enemies, or of the danger associated with it.
If you know what your protagonist’s greatest fear is, use it to push him/her to the limit. Use it as an opportunity for your protagonist to either rise above the challenge or fail to meet it.
Tell me your thoughts below!