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Friday, April 30, 2010

So You Want Flaws

I've read a lot lately about how your characters should have flaws. Anything to keep them from being too "perfect" cause we all know that perfect is boring. Well, I thought I had given my MC some flaws. To me, she's a bit whiny at times and had some issues with her father, but I realized that I needed something else when one of my CPs told me recently that my MC was too good.

Um, I was kind of surprised. I thought I had that covered. But when I think about it, she's right. I don't think I went deep enough in showing those flaws. Sure, they are evident in a few places, but not enough to make the reader remember them from chapter to chapter. And certainly not enough to show how the character has changed from the beginning to where I am now in my WIP.

Also, I just finished reading The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan and let me tell you, she has the flawed character thing down perfectly. The MC is likable to an extent, but sometimes I had a hard time sympathizing with her choices. It really made me realize that I have a lot of work to do with my own characters.

However, I'm not going to make a lot of changes for now. I'll save that for revisions:) But I do have some questions for you: What kind of flaws have you come up with for your characters? Did they come easily to you, or did you have to go back in and add them later?

12 comments:

  1. Good question. I try to give all of my characters flaws/quirks while showing growth. One of my beta readers just pointed out an inconsistency for a friend that I need to work on. It's hard to get it all right.

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  2. It's such a balancing act because you don't want them too flawed or else the reader can't route for them. I need to work on my character as well.

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  3. Good question. It's a real balancing act between giving them flaws bad behaviors and still keeping them likable. I usually have no trouble giving mine flaws. :)

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  4. Some of my earlier MCs were a bit flat and unflawed but I think that was because I was a crap writer and I didn't really understand them.

    My last two have some serious issues the flaws came easy.

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  5. Flaws? Um, no my characters are perfect.

    Ha.

    Kidding. I could list their flaws all day long. It comes pretty easily for me. Probably because I have so many. ;)

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  6. I think Laurel's flaws are: she internalizes everything, she is too serious, she is self-absorbed, she's rebellious, she is a perfectionist... she over analyzes, she has trouble letting go and has trust issues.

    She's nearly perfect in every other way, though. :)

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  7. it's a tough balance. you want your protag to be likable, but also human. i have lots of friends with lots of flaws. but if you give a character to many flaws the can become unsimpathetic. i find sometimes it's easy to give my characters flaws that i have, then including them in every scene seems more natural.

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  8. I agree; it is a really difficult balance. You need to give them flaws to make them human, but not makes them too monster-like!

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  9. Oh, I love this topic! Some great flaws are jealousy, quick temper, envy, insecurity, a tendency to be oversarcastic...lots of fun ones like that!

    I think you're right in waiting until revisions to change it. Just keep going. All that will come together in the next phase!

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  10. I just bought The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I'm behind in my reading. I'm going to pay attention to the MC because of your post. I'm also interested in character flaws and how they fit into a story.

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  11. My MC didn't have enough flaws either, and then the secondary character, who has tons of flaws, started to take over because she was more interesting.

    So I have the same problem! The MC has to be likeable, but also has to have flaws to overcome.

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