Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why Flawed Characters are More Interesting

The archetypical hero in fiction: good guy or girl who goes on some kind of journey (the story) and comes out the other end even a bigger hero and more white than white. The hero is a vanilla character -- and most vanilla characters don't have striations of chocolate ... unless they are flawed. Flawed characters are, in my opinion, way more interesting to read. A flawed character is a good character at heart who is a little misguided and makes bad decisions or has weak judgment. Flawed characters are more complex. They are more interesting to read about and try to understand their motivations. To write a great flawed character, here are some considerations:

Not too flawed -- avoid going over the top in character flaws. Why? Because there is a fine line between a hero and a villain. An extremely flawed character can make him or her not likeable. The key is to write a likeable hero or heroine who while flawed in some way has something you enjoy about him or her. In my first book California Girl Chronicles, Brea's humanity comes across as she makes really terrible choices based on her confusion. Some reviewers took her as unlikeable, but she was just human -- and we all in our humanity do dumb or misguided things. We have wants and desires, and in our search to fulfill our needs we can go slightly off the rails. In my new book Body in the Trunk (due out in May), Mia is only slightly misguided in her desire for love, which unfortunately sets a line of dominoes that when pushed creates tragedy. At her base, she is very likeable, and the reader through the examples provided can see why she makes her misguided choices -- and the manipulations of the other characters show that she is also being led down the wrong path by extremely flawed characters, too.

Do you have a book you need to be coached? My company 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) offers book coaching, and our qualified coaches can help writers do things like create the ideal flawed characters that make great reading. Contact us at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.

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