Character Flaws: #Preptober, Day 11

Character flaws – who needs ’em?

You do! Or, rather, your character does.

But why would you want to go and ruin a perfectly good character?

Because that’s what makes them interesting!

Human beings, for better or for worse, all have flaws. Sometimes they’re pretty obvious. Narcissists, for instance, are pretty easy to spot. (America’s current President, for one ludicrously outsized example.) Others are a little more tricky. Like the emotional abuser who “negs” you, but only behind closed doors, so that none of your friends ever see anything but “what a nice guy” he is.

Character flaws are important defining features for villains, but they’re also hugely important for your heroes.

As Leonard Cohen wrote:

“There is a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in.”

The idea is that your hero’s biggest flaw can also provide his or her moment of clarity. It’s the pivot point in any story. Will your character crumble and give in to the dark side, or will they find some inner strength they never knew they had and finally overcome this stumbling block?

Heroes need flaws because they need weaknesses for the villains to exploit. Pick one that’s the most obvious. If they care about their families, have the villain kill their mother, father, sister, brother or pet. (Think about Harry Potter: Voldemort killed both of his parents!)

Heroes also need flaws simply because they’re human. Pick a few annoying habits or stupid things they tend to do. Give them something ugly about their personality or their appearance. Give them something to fret about, to obsess over, to nitpick in others and desperately want to change about themselves.

Flaws give characters motivation. Without motivation, there’s no action; and without action, there’s no story.

Want to prep with me?

Fill in the same info for one of YOUR main characters, post it on your blog, and be sure to use the hashtag #Preptober on social media so we can find each other.

Don’t forget to grab a free copy of my Preptober Prompts Printable, which you can print out for personal use.

See you tomorrow with a new prompt!