Character Flaws: Everyone Has Them, Not Every Writer Writes Them

What makes up a character? Traits. What are traits? Good or bad points found in a character. Good character traits (meaning those that are positive), are easy to come by. We are taught from a young age to look at the perfections, the good in others. This includes our characters. Unfortunately this means that so often character flaws are left forgotten. Flaws are just as important as talents and perfections: they make the character much more human and easy to connect with.

What flaws are most commonly seen? Depression certainly is one, so is social ineptitude. Arrogance is seen here and there, as is trouble-making (see bad boys). These are by no means bad flaws, though they are seen often and can be seen as dull and cliche as opposed to finding something different: Superstitious, apathetic, overconfident characters are hardly ever seen. What if the character is paranoid? Overprotective? Illiterate? Every person has those traits that could stand for some improvement, whether they recognize it themselves or not. You can either go for flaws that make you think outside the box, or you can stick to known entities. The good part about sticking to the sometimes over-used traits (whether positive or negative), is that as a writer you have plenty of material to pull from. The flip-side is that you have to try to write it in a different light, or make it somehow original in your character (unless your story is about how your character is actually very average, which is one tactic you can use.

Flaws can be real or not real. A character can perceive a trait in themselves that isn’t actually there, or perhaps they just don’t see the positive of a trait (like practicality, which can be seen as a double-edged sword). These approaches to your characters can provide points to grow and develop from, which can create a great sub-plot. Never forget that flaws are fluid: they can either be tackled by the character knowingly or unknowingly, they don’t need to be resolved at all if you don’t want them to be.

New flaws can surface. After being incarcerated, for instance, perhaps your character becomes claustrophobic. Maybe they always scarf up their food because they don’t know if it will be taken away or not. Maybe they’re more outwardly violent now, or withdrawn. Any number of outcomes can come from a single plot point. Giving your character a reaction to the situations they have been put in means that they are human and easier to connect with.

Flaws can come in many forms. Physical, emotional, mental, etc. Phobias, mental illnesses, disabilities—these all count towards flaws. Your character doesn’t need to necessarily view them as flaws, they could see the silver lining in their predicament, if they’re even aware of the flaw. Flaws help to define and differentiate your characters. Diversify your characters and their flaws. Everyone copes differently, even if they have the same problem (depression, for instance). Write your characters with thought and consideration. They deserve it and so does your writing!

List of Mental Illnesses

Character Flaws

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Selfie: A Satirical Take on Generation X

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Selfie is a Fall 2014 television series starring Karen Gillan and John Cho (read: Amy Pond and Sulu). With this star-studded ensemble there’s no wonder the show is a hit. Although Selfie is mostly a satire on my own generation and it’s self-obsession, I thoroughly enjoy the show and it’s comedic take on the topic.

With a hilarious take on those who are lost in their cell phones and their online reputations, along with stellar characters who become more self aware as the season goes on, this dramedy (drama-comedy) really hits big with the viewers. Even putting aside the two main characters of the series, you have a wonderful and diverse cast who bring heart and soul into the show. There are so many great points to this show including balance in your life, how to make and keep friends and take responsibility for yourself. So not only does this show touch on many real-world problems that people have (although they satire it be over-exaggerating), but this means that there are many aspects to the characters that you, as the audience, can connect with. For instance, Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) tends to let the amount of followers and likes she’s receiving online effect her daily life—in my generation this certainly can be the case: girls document their daily outfits in order to gain approval and a sense of self-worth. Henry Higgs (John Cho), meanwhile, exemplifies the part of us that try to work hard for what we have, read books and live well. What both of these characters lack, however, is connections to others. They are so worried about their own lives that they have trouble forging connections outside of that which last.

I can hardly find anything bad to say about this show, as I love the characters, the premise and the ridiculous situations they get themselves into. It’s a good laugh and certainly an excellent show to watch in the evenings. I highly recommend this show to anyone and everyone. It’s just started this year, so catching up is easy and brings some levity to your lives. A 4.5/5 stars for Selfie from Parkyr’s Perspective.

Apologies Due

My blog took an unscheduled sort of hiatus during November and the first part of December. Why?

Because I focused on NaNoWriMo and was able to win because of my focus! So thank you for giving me time to finish that project before I came back with more posts. I plan to continue my blog with Mondays in Review, Trying to Write on Wednesdays and Friday is Game Time.

In addition to finishing NaNoWriMo successfully, I have also started up an Etsy shop here, where I am selling facial/body scrubs and knitted fashions. At the moment I have two listings, but I plan to raise that number in the coming weeks. I hope you’ll take a look and keep my shop in mind for future gifts!