Monday, October 19, 2009

Phobias by Morgan Mandel

Along with the usual murder and mayhem in a mystery, consider adding a phobia to heighten the tension. If you think of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark when he falls into the snakepit, you'll get the idea.

In Killer Career, a childhood incident left my main character, Julie, petrified about riding elevators. The villain learns of her phobia and plays that card in the book's climax. This forces Julie to face her worst fears in the most difficult of circumstances. Will she or her phobia win?

That's a current example of how phobia can play a part in a book. Can you think of any other book or movie where phobia figures in the plot? Maybe you've included one in your own book. Please share.

Morgan Mandel


Mark Troy said...

Though not technically a phobia, vertigo figured into the plot of, well, VERTIGO. The plot of BODY DOUBLE was about claustrophobia.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

The main character in my second book has a phobia of developing a phobia. It was fun working various possibilities into the story.

I enjoy watching Monk with his endless list of phobias!

Marilyn Brant said...

This wasn't strictly a phobia, but I was reminded of the singing scene in My Best Friend's Wedding when Cameron Diaz's character sang (badly) to show her love for her fiance.

unwriter said...

I can't think of any phobia's right off hand except the one in Killer Career and that one worked well.

Dana Fredsti said...

Fear of heights in both High Anxiety and Vertigo.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I don't like heights either, but not afraid of lots of things others are such as snakes, spiders, scorpions, etc. Living where I live, we have an abundance of those lovely creatures.

What I don't like is making phone calls--not a phobia exactly, but I don't like to do it.


Libby McKinmer said...

Or there's the show about many phobias, that just happens to be one of my favorite shows -- Monk!

Marvin D Wilson said...

Lots. Jack Nicholson in "As Good as it Gets" has this phobia about stepping on cracks, for one. Hysterical sub plot element. Phobias make for good added interest in a story.

The Old Silly