Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Photo Tuesday - Character Flaws

As writers, we are told not to present perfect characters.

Those inhabiting our story must possess flaws, hang-ups, imperfections, and internal conflicts.

Sometimes it is difficult to assign these negative characteristics. We love our characters and don't want them to be too unlikable, ignorant, or emotionally unstable. Our readers must identify with these people and root for the heroes. What if we go too far and create a character too offensive or pathetic?

The secret is to have our characters outgrow some of these negative issues.




Remember the ugly duckling. Homely as a chick, he eventually grew into a beautiful swan.



Our characters can grow and change as well. During the course of our story, situations will arise that  challenge our characters, forcing them to improve and adapt. The basic storyline will likely involve the overcoming of poor behaviors, mental fears, or emotional barriers. The bully will cease to fight. The antagonist will realize the error of his ways. The wallflower will understand that she can achieve more. Some characters will remain stuck in their ways (and some will even regress) but others will flourish and grow.




And by the end of our story, while far from perfect, they will resemble a beautiful swan.

16 comments:

The Old Silly said...

Well said, Diane - good points and - as usual, GREAT photos to help illustrate. :)

Marvin D Wilson

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Cute photos - again. It is much easier for me to identify with a character with flaws than with one who's perfect, and seeing a character overcome at least one imperfection during a story gives me hope.

Karen Walker said...

Love the photos, Diane. This brought back a memory of being in a creative writing class. I'd fictionalized part of my story for an assignment. The feedback about the "character" was very negative. The young kids said no one would think, feel, or act that way. And all of it was true. Go figure.
karen

Creative Chronicler said...

Great points. I have read a few books this week that have characters with huge flaws, some who overcame them and some that didn't and they are some of the best books I have ever read because they were so real. Love the pics, but personally I think the ugly duckling kitten is as adorable and beautiful as the full grown cat.

StephTheBookworm said...

This is really interesting. I definitely think that it is important to have characters with flaws so that people are better able to relate. No one can relate to a perfect character. Awesome cat pictures as always! :)

TeacherLin749 said...

You make me want to dig out my old manuscript and get back to work on my novel, Diane. Too much responsibility with a grandchild and with my parents at the time I was writing. Maybe I can get back into it now.

Mayra Calvani said...

Oh my gosh! Adorable photos!!

Helen Ginger said...

I like my protagonists to be a little flawed. That way, they're more like me, real.

Love the beautiful swan cat. She's sunning herself.

Helen
Straight From Hel

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks! Calvin was not very photogenic, but she was a gorgeous cat. Now as a kitten... her nickname was "Yoda!"

Tara McClendon said...

Super cute photos. I tend to make my characters a bit too unlikeable at first. I've had to go back in and revise to fix the problem. :]

Angela Breidenbach said...

You're right because it makes our characters more human and relatable. I'm a kitty person too :-)
Angie

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Well-put....and those kitties are such cuties!

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Nancy J. Parra said...

Great post and so true! Luv the kitty, too. Cheers!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The kitty (Calvin) is here to please!

Prill Boyle said...

Love the pics! Great tips. Great post.

Allyn Evans said...

As always love your pics. :)