Hump Day Prompt #4: What Are They So Afraid Of?

Hump Day Prompt #4: What Are They So Afraid Of? This week we're exploring your hero and antagonist's big fears and how they intertwine.

Every Wednesday, I post a writing prompt here. You write about it, if it tickles your creativity bone, and then come share what you wrote on Facebook to get some feedback and see what the other Ninjas have come up with. My goal with these prompts will to be to make them something that can move your current work-in-progress forward.


What are they so afraid of?

This week we’re going to get to know both our heroes and our antagonists a little deeper.

I want you to think about each of them and focus on what they are the most afraid of.

The thing that scares them is also the thing that runs the highest risk of breaking them. And remember this: your antagonist is the hero of their own story. The thing they are afraid of is important to them, and knowing what that is will help you to write a deeper and more robust character.

So ask yourself not only about what scares your hero and antagonist, but how those fears interact with each other. How they drive these two characters as they live these parallel, intertwining lives. How does the hero’s fear drive his rival? How does the rival’s fear direct the way he responds to the hero?

My Turn

My current work-in-progress is a Robin Hood retelling set in modern day Las Vegas.

My hero is Rob Huntington (who is the Robin Hood character) and his main rival is Guy Gisborne. They grew up together, although Guy is a decade older, and they are in love with the same girl.

Rob’s biggest fear is not living up to the huge legacy his father left when he died. He has always feared he wouldn’t be able to fill his father’s shoes, but he’s only seventeen when his dad dies and that fear is intensified. Rob is motivated by love. He wants the people who loved his father–so basically the whole city, but in particular the people who worked in the casino his father owned–to love him. His fear is that they’ll figure out he will never be like his father and that they will hate him.

Guy’s fear is that he really isn’t as good as Rob. That no matter how hard he works, he will always be the kid who was left on his uncle’s doorstep. He’ll always be a charity case. He’ll never deserve the girl he’s fallen in love with. He’ll never deserve anything. His fear makes him hate Rob, who he believes has had everything Guy has ever wanted just handed to him. It keeps him from making good choices, because he can’t see how working hard and being patient will ever work for him.

Your Turn

Are you writing a prompt this week? Leave a comment and let me know!

Come on over to the Ninja Writers Facebook group and share your work. Get some feedback, leave some feedback–get involved in the community. I can’t wait to read what you come up with!

Also, if you’d like to get a PDF of this post and every Hump Day Writing Prompt, head here and sign up for the Ninja Writers Binder Club. Every month I send out a newsletter that includes those links.

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