Monday, July 11, 2016

Flaws, Fears, and Weaknesses / Character ER




The winning genre for the next IWSG Anthology is...FANTASY!



Flaws, fear, and weaknesses add depth to characters because people have all three of these things. A character without them is bland…generic…unreal. A character with them is fascinating, relatable, and real. So let’s take a look at all three:

1. Flaws

There are a couple of different flaws that people have. One is physical flaws and the second is personality flaws.

Physical flaws – No one has a perfect body. Not even models. I have big feet and hands, plus a foot-long scar and a bad back. One of your characters could have a crooked tooth, a bump on his/her nose, or a facial mole she hates. We all have something we consider a flaw or (at least) don’t like about ourselves.

Personality flaws – Now this one will require you to get into your characters' heads and get to know them more. A personality flaw could be stubbornness, impatience, narcissism, or quick-temperedness. Your character can have any of these or any other personality flaw.

Image from Pixabay

2. Fears

We all have a fear or two or ten. A fear can be of anything such as a fear of spiders, heights, clowns, or fires. Then there are inner fears and fears that relate to real life. Like the fear of losing a loved one, dying because of cancer, unemployment or homelessness, or opening yourself up to love.

A fear can literally be anything, so figure out your characters’ fears and exploit them. Also highlight a small fear. Ex: Have a spider crawl on your MC. And use a bigger fear in the plot as something your MC has to overcome.

3. Weaknesses

A weakness isn’t just chocolate. It can be a physical or mental weakness. One of your character’s fears can be a weakness. I have a physical weakness due to spine surgery. Your character can have a physical weakness because of a health problem (diabetes, asthma, etc.). You character can also have a mental weakness such as a psychological disorder. A weakness can even be a person or a weapon if you’re writing a paranormal/sci-fi story.
TIP: Use your character’s weakness to create conflict and character depth.


QUESTION: What are your flaws, fears, and weaknesses?


56 comments:

  1. I probably don't include enough physical flaws.
    One of my flaws is perfectionism and my greatest fear is losing my wife.

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    1. Aw. Losing your wife, I'm sure, is something every man fears, but I don't think you have to worry about that, Alex.

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  2. Flaws and weaknesses are the first things I figure out about a character. Good list.

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    1. Awesome! You know how to create characters. ;)

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  3. You are not shying away from difficult questions today! I fear almost everything, which is a flaw, but I use it write, which is a strength. :)

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    1. Sometimes we have to ask the difficult questions. :)

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  4. That spider is cute!
    My current WIP, I'm trying to make my one character be stubborn about expressing his emotions so in the scene where he does it's significant.

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    1. I know, right?

      That's good. It'll mean more to your readers. :)

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  5. Great points. Our characters need to be "human" which means not perfect. Your suggestions are super.
    I like spiders, especially garden spiders. Not so crazy about black widows or others that are poisonous.

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    1. I hope you don't like the poisonous ones. Haha

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  6. That spider is a cutie!! :)
    I've got a character with an issue with her leg in one of my WIPs and it's interesting to write about someone with that flaw that interferes with so many parts of her life

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    1. I can relate to that. I'm planning on writing about a character like myself who has back issues that interferes with many areas of her life.

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  7. Since I'm a big chicken, the list of fears would be a very long one! Thankfully, my characters are usually braver than I am. :)

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    1. Isn't that fun? My characters are braver than me, too.

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  8. I think you may have met me and me not known.
    What you have written is me to a "T", I also have a back scar and a bad back and because of events in my life have fears,Which if you spend much time alone you have time to think about them. Thanks for this wonderful post, it was great reading about me.
    Yvonne.

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  9. The characters I love most are those with huge flaws--especially personality ones. I can relate to them so well. :-)

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    1. Can't we all? None of us are perfect. We all have flaws and that's why we relate to flawed characters. :)

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  10. My answer to all three questions would be... fear of failure. Flaw because it creates a destructive perfectionistic streak in my art, weakness because it triggers my anxiety.

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    1. That's good. You're right that the fear of failure counts as all three.

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  11. I love that tarantula!

    It's really fun to give characters flaws, either to be overcome or remaining a part of who they are. I seem to tend towards giving characters limps and otherwise gimpy legs (e.g., polio survivors), even before I had my own limp. it's kind of like I knew, even before I knew. Perfect characters are boring, and no one I want to read about.

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    1. That's very interesting. Maybe you were prophesying it. Perfect character are boring! Who wants to read about perfect characters? Blah.

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  12. My current book I use flaws for the characters, one physical and the other is a douchebag haha

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    1. The other is a douchebag. Hahaha. That's a BIG flaw.

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  13. I have many flaws and weaknesses and a few fears (mostly of being late). I do think that these three help make us relate better to one another.

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  14. If a character doesn't have flaws or fears, etc., they are unbelievable; you can't really relate to them. My physical fear is snakes and small rodents.

    betty

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    1. I agree. Fear of snakes is very common.

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  15. I love this stuff. All of those are on my character sheets, along with strengths, goals, etc. They are what shapes a character.

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    1. Strengths and goals are also good to know. We need all of it to build a character and their story.

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  16. I have way to many fears and flaws but you're right that does make a character more interesting to readers. We all need to overcome something - so should our characters. Making them relatable (is that a word) is key!

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    1. Funny you ask. We know relatable as a word, but Word and Spell Check say it's wrong. I don't know. I'd have to look that up. :p

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  17. Ah, good point. I think my MC's major weakness is her low self esteem, but I'm not using it well enough in the story. Deep sigh.

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    1. Low self-esteem is a tricky one to do throughout a story.

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  18. Personally, or in fiction? :)

    I have several phobias. I can't go on a downwards escalator without suffering from intense fear. I can also be claustrophobic, and I have a fear of falling.

    As for flaws...I can't write fantasy. Boo! I was hoping for horror or mystery. :P

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    1. Horror came in 3rd place and mystery 5th. Since fantasy won't be in the running next time, maybe one of them will win next year. :)

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  19. This would be a great help to my brother who's serious with his fan fictions and novels.

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  20. I hate spiders, but he is a cutie. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  21. I always thought of it as baggage. It comes from personal history and what mark was left behind. I never linked it to flaws. I guess I don't see them as bad things, just something that makes each character unique. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Flaws can certainly be baggage. They can also be more than that. :)

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  22. Sounds like a great genre!!!!
    My personality flaws is I care too much. Sometimes at my own expense, for others. May not seem like a flaw, but it's something that leads to allowing someone else to walk over you.
    My biggest fear is abandonment. I have a fear and dread I'll likely die alone.

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    1. I can relate to that. I have the same flaw.

      Many people share that fear as well.

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  23. You though that spider was cute?! Lmao well, spiders may be my biggest fear. Lol!

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    1. Oh come on. You don't think that little guy is cute? :P

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  24. My MC's main weakness is her inability to open up and face her fears. Great post Chrys.

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    1. That is a great weakness for your MC to work through.

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  25. Gosh! I love flaws!!!

    I try to make my MC's and secondary characters have a combo of each. To me, it makes for interesting and compelling characters. Great post!!!

    ~~~
    S.K. Anthony: Barnes and Noble Changing the Self-Publishing Game

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    1. I love flaws, too. At least my characters' flaws. ;)

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  26. Wow! I think you just shed much-needed light in the closet that one of my characters currently lives in. She needs to come out and get sprinkled with freckles she despises or something! Funny, none of my characters have ever been flawless before...Thank you!
    Me? Oh, I am a perfect mess (and not in a good way). I avoid scorpions and glass elevators.

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    1. Sprinkled with freckles. I love it! There's not nearly enough freckled heroines/MCs in books.

      I don't like heights, so I'd avoid glass elevators, too.

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  27. Flaw #1: Biting off more than I can chew. This week has become a marathon of email, planning posts, and dealing with kids who seem to need instructions for breathing. (So I won't be getting that guest post on Halloween vs. Day of the Dead to you quite yet, but October is two months away.)

    Other flaws: bad temper that comes with a heavy dose of foul language.

    Fears: telephone conversations, asking anyone for help for any reason, mastering new technology

    Weaknesses: Migraines. There are so many triggers like candles, fires in fireplaces, movies in a dark theater, fireworks, stress, dehydration, and lack of food or sleep.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That's okay! You have plenty of time. :)

      I can get a bad temper, too.

      I hate talking on the phone, but it's not really a fear.

      Migraines are not fun.

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  28. That spider is cute. I like spiders. I don't like bee's, wasps, hornets..ect. It's more of a phobia. lol

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Please tell me what you think. I love to chat! :)

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