What is the worst thing that can happen to your character?

I am slowly catching up on replays, and I just watched Beth Barany’s 7 Essentual Keys session. I had a quick moment of panic when she posed one of her questions in the Spiral Method as, “What is the worst thing that can happen to your character?”

I had never thought of this question and immediately jumped to something obvious. She learns that she has multiple sclerosis. Upon further thought, I realized MS was not the worst thing. Instead, it would be her friend dying in an asthma attack during a race she planned. This made me realize my character now has more depth for me to strive towards and I am adjusting my resolution.

Out of curiosity, would anone care to share what the worst thing that can happen is for your protagonist?


Ooh this sounds like it could be a very evil thread and I’m here for it :joy:

In my current WIP, my protagonist is searching for his kidnapped daughter. The worst thing that could happen is if she died before he could save her. Due to a special connection they have, he would know she’s gone even if he was halfway across the world. But denial would set in hard. He would keep searching, driving himself mad until there was nothing left of the man he was.

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@TFMelissa Oh my. That would be devastating! Thanks for sharing.

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Fails to see the forest in light of the trees


In his mind, the worst has already happened. His partner died because of a car crash (not his fault). But there’s a whole lot more he has to lose - career, home, vehicle, reputation, personal possessions, dignity. And he’s losing it all piece by piece.


@dtill359 I love how you broke this down, “piece by piece.”

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For one POV character, settling. That his life will be meaningless, especially to himself. In fact it’s a stated deep fear of his.

For my other POV character, it’s that she doesn’t open up, accept who/what she is, and let herself out from under her mentor’s shadow. She’s extremely emotionally closed off, so the very idea of having to open herself up is terrifying.