I love a good bit of synchronicity … I’ve been reading Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy recently, having already read and loved The Liveship Traders. One of the things I love most about her work is how damn real the characters are. They make the wrong, slightly illogical choices because of their emotions; they hurt others because of their own flaws; they don’t have an easy time because they know what they want, but they don’t always know what they need. Robin Hobb doesn’t let them off easily.
So I’ve been thinking about character flaws, when what should appear on my blog feed, but a short’n’sweet article by Rachelle Garner on Why Your Novel Characters Need Real Flaws.
As writers, we love our characters, even the villains, but especially the heroes. Which means it’s hard, sometimes, to give them a hard time or to let them hurt each other. In particular, it’s difficult to find that balance between the likeability of the character and the realism of giving them actual flaws that have a negative effect on those around them – their friends, families, lovers …
Rachelle briefly discusses the difference between the real flaw and the cosmetic flaw … but fear not if you suddenly realise your characters have cosmetic flaws, because often the cosmetic flaw is but a watered down, victimless version of the real flaw and all we need to do is look at the darker side of their perfectionism or insecurity and how it makes victims of others.
Check out her article, and I’d love to know if you have any other tips or articles!