Character Flaws

60 Second Advice by Anne Brees

It’s all too easy for your main character to be perfect. You want them to be loyal, kind, honest, funny, empathetic, and so much more because you want your characters to be likable. However if your characters don’t have flaws, they aren’t going to seem lifelike. Few readers like characters who aren’t lifelike.

Your characters should be as real people, and all real people have flaws. We are complex and jealous and mean and dishonest, because we are human and we aren’t perfect all the time. One way you can add and explain flaws are by adding backstory. Events of the past affect people, and not always for the good.

Maybe your MC is jealous because they’ve been working so hard to achieve what another character already has. Maybe they are mean because they don’t have any patience left after everything they’ve dealt with that day. Maybe they are dishonest because they are afraid of what other people might think of them if they are themselves. Maybe they are rude because someone was already mean to them today.

Keep in mind that flaws don’t always have to be explained. Some people are just meaner than others.

In order to appear lifelike, your characters must have flaws. It ends up that most of the time, it’s the flaws that make your characters likable, not the good things.

What is your main character’s flaw? Did something cause them to be this way?

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