Monday, January 3, 2011

Character Flaws

January, the month of beginnings.

Here we set the reset button, we plan, we organize, and we execute everything we want to achieve for 2011. The spark is there and we are driven by whatever it is that drives us. Let’s keep the momentum going, it is only day three.

Since I’m currently plotting my current WIP, I’m gonna write what I’ve found to be helpful.

The beginning of an idea, whether you are a plotter or a pantster, begins with character and plot. You have a brief view of your character and you have some idea of what you are going to put him through.

You have the question. You know, the question that burns in your mind, the one that doesn’t let you clear your head, the one that drives you to write this fabulous first draft.

The question.

What happens if this kid is destined to be the savior of a wizarding community? What happens if this girl falls in love with a vampire who wants her for dinner? What happens when a god has half-human kids? At this stage it is more of a concept than a defined plot, but it sparks other questions that must be answered.

Every story has a character doing something. Whether your character is a rat running away from authorities, or a vampire conspiring to kill a King, the manuscript has direction. It is leading to something which leads to something else. A-Ha! Your plot.

On a side note: I would suggest keeping your original questions just in case you begin losing your story. More about that later.

Character flaws is something that needs to be considered when selecting or defining your characters. For great information on plotting visit the Plot Whisperer. If you are not a follower, I would highly recommend you check it out.

We are all human, or vampires, or ghosts…okay, you get the point. Interesting characters are flawed characters. Imagine if your characters were perfect and everything they touched was golden, and they didn’t have to work hard to achieve what they wanted. Who would want to read about that?

Think about:

The boy who lived but continues to dodge head first into trouble. Harry Potter
The vampire with a conscience. Interview with a Vampire, or Twilight depending on your taste.
The monster looking for companionship. Frankenstein.

Flawed characters are great characters. The flaws should be a limitation towards their wants or motives, heightening the tension and conflict as your story progresses.

Who are some of your favorite flawed characters?


  1. The flaws are what readers relate to and make characters that much more human. My tv faves are Dinozo (sp?) in NCIS. Goren in Law & Order CI and House. Not sure who my favourites would be in terms of books. Something to think about.

  2. Hi J.L, thanks for stopping by. I totally agree about trying to make our characters human.


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