Character flaws–a great gift

I loved this post by Monica M. Clark. I always loved it when characters aren’t just evil for the sake of being evil and aren’t just perfect because they’re the hero and heroine. In fact, flat characters like that tend to turn me away from a book. When I write, I always hope to make my characters both flawed and gifted, whether they’re the heroine or the villain.

Personally, I don’t know if I would call the thing that shapes your protagonist or antagonist a “flaw” per se.  I think it’s more of a trait,” Ms. Clark says. And that’s a great way to put it, isn’t it? Maybe my villain keeps the hero away from the heroine because he’s prejudiced against him but, at the same time, he’s caring about her, he’s trying to protect her. That same ‘flaw’ might be a redeeming quality if he cares about the heroine enough to save her life, say.

Here’s how she explains it. “…a character’s “flaw” is the source of both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. So, if the flaw is “fear of failure,” then the strength is that he is careful, prepared, and a strategist, while the weakness is that he is also relentless.”

Love it. Love how one strength is also a weakness and vice versa. Love it. I think, if I manage to study my characters this way, it’ll make them richer and more enjoyable.

What a great post. Loved it! A big thanks to Ms. Clark for writing it!

 

A good villain

I’ve rambled on about flat characters before. Then I discovered this post by Lisa Alber. She writes on how to make a fantastic villain. And you need a good villain, you need a great villain to take your story from good to great.

A great villain is someone that we love to hate. It’s someone we like just a little bit; they are redeemable enough that we want to hear about them yet they’re terrible enough that we hate them anyway. You know they’re good when they keep us turning the pages. More than anything else, we want that evil person to face the music and pay for what they’ve done. They can’t stupid or illogical, they have to be smart, even a little brilliant and nasty to the bone. They can easily carry that story to the end.

But how do you get one? Hm. I’m thinking of my book, Amy’s Courage and the villains in it (yes, more than one). I think I need to revisit them. Because Lisa Alber has some very, very good suggestions on how to make these characters rich and juicy and simply delicious. Characters you love to hate. And the chance to make my book better is too good to pass up.

Want to know more? Here’s the link to her post.

Want to know less? Here’s what I took from it: enrich my villain with layers, personality and background. Give them faults but also give them gifts–after all, they too were someone’s baby once.

A big thank you to Lisa Alber for the awesome post!

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