As always, thanks to everyone for a stimulating discussion on the weekly discussion and especially to Modelling_Mushi for a very detailed discussion of Star Wars(!)
This week, I thought it might be interesting to think about character flaws - not flaws in the writing, that is, but flaws in the characters themselves. Some flaws are almost cliches - the morose and alcoholic detective; the skilled warrior who's sworn off all violence until some just cause demands he dust off his swords or break out the ammo crate filled to bursting with medals and military hardware.
Flaws can also make characters more credible of course - so what do you think about character flaws? Do you consciously think about this when creating a character? Who are some memorably flawed characters from SFF you have read and enjoyed? What made them so striking? As always, let us know below.
Sometimes, when trying to tease-out the details for a character, flaws suggest themselves. They may not be useful within the narrative under construction, but I still think it's a worthwhile part of the creative process. Perfect characters tend to be more one-dimensional. Consider - what if Han Solo had just been the pilot/owner of a small but successful freight haulage company, with no outstanding debts and a calculator rather than a DL-44 Heavy Blaster.
Superb point about Han Solo - even as a kid watching the first films the first time around, there was no question about who the best character was - it was Solo, the wise-cracking scapegrace and cynic and certainly not the blue-eyed boy wonder Luke Skywalker who seemed lame by comparison even back then.
This is an area I need to work on. A good character MUST be flawed because we are all flawed in our daily lives. What trips me up and hinders my ability to develop characters is nasty ole logic. I'll create a character, and then from a logical standpoint I can't let the character say or do things that reveal a flaw unless that flaw is central to the story. As we write, we must "flaw" our characters ideally in believable and unique ways. This is one of our key challenges as writers.
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