Phobias are irrational fears. Manias have been defined as uncontrollable compulsions, desires, or urges. Are they uncontrollable? That depends on what you decide for the character you create. In the following article, I present to you 5 of the strangest manias in existence. More strange manias will be brought up in future articles. Following each is a suggested writing prompt. Have fun!
Cartacoethes - I appreciate maps, as I am sure you do. I am not so crazy about them, though, that I see them in everything I look at. Those who have Cartacoethes see maps everywhere they look. When looking at clouds, they are seen in the shape of countries. When glancing at food, continents jump out. When studying plants, nations come to light. Maps are everywhere!
Just how would this affect your character? The character Monk, famous for his phobias helping him to solve crimes, gives me an idea. Allow your character to be a detective, one who sees maps everywhere he looks. He doesnít see just any kind of map, he sees detailed maps of crime scenes. People had always made fun of him for his obsession with maps, but now his expertise is needed by the police to solve a crime. What is the crime? How does he solve it?
Gamomania - If you are a single person, you do not want to become involved with someone who has gamomania. A person with gamomania has the bizarre compulsion of asking others singles to marry him. He may already be married, but that doesnít matter. The compulsion to ask others to marry him wonít go away, which results in polygamy. It could also result in him being beat up or taken to court by some very angry women.
Your character is a gamomaniac (that may or may not be a word). Anyway, he has been married, never divorced, 23 times. His goal is to have a wife in each of the 50 states. So far, his wives do not know about each other. They think he is a traveling salesman with a lot of work. A kink is thrown into his plans by soon-to-be wife 24. She finds out about one of his other wives. This throws her into a frenzy. What happens now? Does she find out about the other 23?
Onomatomania - This is an obsession with words, but not just any words. It is an obsessive desire to repeat only certain words. When my grandson learns or hears a new word, whether or not he knows the meaning of it, he wants to use it over and over and over. Someone who has onomatomania would be obsessed not only with the sound of the words itself, but would also want to know the history of the word and every way it can be used.
Your character has onomatomania. He has just discovered a new word, an intriguing word, a word about which he must find out everything. You get to decide what the word is. Anyway, the search to find out about this word leads to adventures that put not only his life, but the lives of those he knows in danger. What does he discover?
Clinomania is an overwhelming and obsessive desire to stay in bed, surrounded by blankets and pillows. On really cold days, like we have experienced lately, I seem to be overcome by this desire. Clinomania is a sleep disorder that, like depression, can cause someone to stay in bed for several days in a row.
Your character, who is a health nut, has suffered bouts with clinomania for years. It normally hits her during the cold winter months. This year she is determined to not give in to it. How does she plan to overcome this mania? Does she succeed in doing so? What one thing made her decide that she needed to conquer this strange desire?
Demonomania - Demonomania is classified as a form of insanity where a person believes that he is possessed by demons, so he acts as one possessed. How does he know how to act? There have been plenty of movies, like The Exorcist, showing how one possessed by demons would act.
After studying demons and their possession as part of his training for the priesthood, Richard (your character) slowly becomes convinced that he is possessed by what he has devoted his life to helping other people overcome. He fights giving in to the murderous tendencies that he has been feeling, but then someone he didnít really have fond feelings for anyway did something to tip him over the edge. What did this person do? How does Richard respond? Does he overcome his murderous desires or is this the beginning of a rampage of murders?