When creating our characters, we can fall in love to the point of making them perfect. Flawless. We love each and every character, even the antagonist (sometimes, especially the antagonist because they are so FUN to write).
But we want believable main characters - characters our readers can connect with and identify with. To make them believable, we have to make them human. And humans have flaws. This doesn't mean giving them facial scars or big, hairy moles jutting out of their chin. They don't need a traumatic childhood or a heavy drug addiction they just can't kick. They can be simpler flaws.
Each of us has a flaw or two - some of us have no patience, some of us are extremely judgemental, some of us are selfish with our time or money. We hold onto slights. We hurl insults. We don't play well with others. We're all human. Our characters need to be as well.
Did you know that being stubborn is a flaw? It's one of my greatest flaws personally. Eva may have a small streak of it. What she has a huge heaping of, though, is the inability to accept help or even ask for it. She's independent. To a fault. We need to know when to ask for help. We aren't superhuman. Neither is she. But she thinks that she should be beyond needing help. It makes her feel weak to ask for it, to accept it. She'll make things much, much worse with this flaw of hers.
Each of my other characters have flaws as well. Eva's Farathir (this means protector in elvish) is protective to a fault. He's old fashioned and wants to do everything for her. You can imagine how this drives our little miss indepedent up the proverbial wall. She doesn't make things easy on him in the least. He doesn't exactly make things easy on himself either. Things don't come out the way he means them to and she's quick to take offense. The two of them are like oil and water at times. Like moth and flame. Like Farathir and Ethavyn (the healer). It's a struggle - both internally and externally for these two. It's part of what makes them so much fun to write!
My antagonist - well, it's always easy to make evil a fault, isn't it? But she needs more than that. The inability to let go of the past. I know many people who can't move on in their lives and this certainly applies to my antagonist. We can sympathize with her because she's lost a great love. The love of her life. Her soulmate. A crushing blow. We'll overlook the fact that he was trying to wipe out an entire race of people for the moment. What matters is that her loss, her love, makes her human. We can sympathize with her. Some readers might actually want her to succeed.
Creating flaws in our characters can be FUN! It can also help our writing along. Conflict is a driving force in our writing. Giving people flaws that work against each other can create that naturally.
This diamond set is flawed. It's still incredibly beautiful, though. Our characters can still be beautiful inspite of (or maybe even because of) their flaws.
What flaws do your characters have? Or are they too awesome?
Canadian Zombie Babies
4 years ago