What is the main character of you current WiP most afraid of and why? Don’t use a previously finished work. This is all about discovering the inner motivations of your current characters – the ones you don’t know all that well yet.
I won't kid you. This question actually scares me. Delving into the psyche of my characters is a dicey business at best. And since I don't do character profiles or character interviews or anything even remotely similar, it's a tough question for me to answer as well. But I'm not one to ever back down from a literary challenge (at least so far), so here's my best shot at it.
The main character I've chosen for this is Jeremy. I am actually in the process of fleshing Jeremy out more, so this is really helpful for that anyway. Jeremy is a 26 year old computer geek. He's getting evicted at the beginning of the story, is newly unemployed, has no real friends, has no strong emotional ties to family, and buys a cup of coffee with his last dime. Even though these problems are huge to most people, they're tiny in comparison to the fear that really plagues Jeremy. His greatest fear is being insignificant, being forgettable as a person. And he believes that he has become this very thing.
This fear is the cause of all Jeremy's problems, and it paralyzes him. He has no girlfriend because he can't hold an intelligent conversation with someone he finds attractive. He recognizes that he's almost 30 and in his mind, that's a death knell for single guys. After all, nobody wants to date an out-of-work computer geek over the age of 30, and at the beginning of the story, he has no prospects for improving things. His fear of insignificance also includes the belief that he will grow old without having had any impact on the world around him. He will die, and the world will not notice his passing. Computer geeks are not remembered for their accomplishments, he figures (Bill Gates aside, of course).
Jeremy stumbles on an ad for a job, and this catapults him into a position of unthinkable power, influence, and responsibility. He becomes nearly omnipotent, and he chooses to ignore his earlier problems. It's a band-aid for his fear however, and in time he will need to come to terms with things or risk destroying everything he holds dear.
Whew. I guess this wasn't as tough as I expected. It has been a fun exercise though, one I will probably adopt for all my MC's. Thanks Christine. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading my predecessor Michelle Hickman's answer, you need to hurry on over there. She even gives us a writing sample of her work, which is truly awesome. And tomorrow you can look forward to an answer from the totally cool Michelle Mclean (who's non-fiction book Essays & Term Papers is now available, make sure you get a copy!)
What are your main character's fears? Have you asked them?