Home » Writing » Flaws aren’t always bad…

Flaws aren’t always bad…

Lately I’ve been going through an older piece of writing and editing it and rewriting it. It’s not writing anyone will ever see, it’s simply a piece I come back to often for my own pleasure of writing.

Anyways, it’s been quite some time (over a year) since I’ve worked on it and as I progressed I realised my main character is incredibly selfish.

Often, when other characters experience emotional pain, she will become upset herself, but not for the same reason most of us would when watching a friend be sad. Instead, she worries about being upset herself at having to watch them go through the emotional trauma!

Well, I was a little more than put off by her, I have to say! 😀

I was determined to take out this flaw I had written into this character, and was about to do so throughout the entire manuscript, but stopped myself.

It might not be a flaw I like, but it’s obviously how I’ve written this character throughout the whole story. And if I take out her flaws, she’s not exactly going to be very interesting, is she?

So, even though I don’t like the trait, I’ve left it. Characters need to feel real and, I have to admit, it does round her out as a character when it’s left in. Throughout the rest of the story I have written other characters noting it about her, so it’s obviously something I’ve noticed before.

It might be nice to have her grow out of that trait, and change as a person.

That’s all part of the fun of writing, isn’t it? Letting our characters grow out of some their faults and become stronger for it 🙂

Have you ever given a character a trait you didn’t like? Do you enjoy writing their flaws as well as their strengths?

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28 thoughts on “Flaws aren’t always bad…

  1. I give characters traits I don’t like all the time. I like the depth that it gives them because the flaw is something to either work toward overcoming or simply adapting to. Never been a fan of the perfect characters or those that have a flaw that doesn’t seem to cause any trouble.

    • I like giving characters flaws, but I do find it hard to give them flaws that make me cringe! Selfishness drives me up the wall so it tends to be one I don’t do very often.

      But it’s good to try out new character traits, it certainly makes me practice different skills at writing! 😀

      Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

      • I’ve had to work my way up to dealing with those kinds of flaws. I think it helps that I’ve dealt with people that have several of the negative traits that I add into some characters. Though the villains tend to have the really dark stuff that should make people cringe.

  2. I think it’s great that you have a piece of writing you come back to for the pleasure of working on it. But I’m curious as to why you think no one will ever see it if you love it so.

  3. Flawless, Mary Sue characters don’t seem real. You did right to leave the flaw there. I built a perfect private investigator and wasn’t satisfied with him. I had to go back and give him a major flaw that added a whole new dimension.

    • Ah, good ol’ Mary Sue 😀 There is a reason everyone hates that type of character. Flaws help readers connect with characters, so yeah, they are kind of essential as you say!

      Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

  4. You were right to leave it in. A great example of this is a book I read recently by Ali Cresswell called Tiger in a cage. I was about a third of the way through the book when I realised with a shock that the main character was actually quite manipulating and a bit of a busy body! Of course there were good reasons why, which duly unfolded, but it was brilliantly and so subtly done.

    • I love those kinds of characters, where you don’t notice their flaws into part way through. Then you’re so invested in them you kind of don’t mind! 😀

      Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

  5. Often the character flaw we write in can be overlooked by others because of redeeming factors. If there are none then basically you’re writing about a psychpath. If there are some it just proves that none of us is perfect which makes for interesting books.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • Exactly! Flaws are what makes a character feel real, deep, and in a lot of ways, what really interests us in a character. It’s pretty easy to write a perfect character, or at least one who’s perfect within your story. Putting flaws into a character is where your talent as an author can shine and where you really make them worth caring about.

  6. I have SO much more fun writing my characters’ flaws than their virtues. I have one character that hates everybody except his wife and my MC, so it’s hilarious writing his grouchy, curmudgeonly rude scenes. So much fun!

  7. Probably the one thing I enjoy most about writing stories is writing my characters’ traits, including flaws. I think flaws make the character more interesting and rememberable 🙂

    • It’s nice to be able to make characters feel really individual depending on what personality you give them. It is, as you say, one of the best parts of writing! 😀

      Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

  8. My characters’ flaws led to behavior that I found to be distinctly unpleasant to write about in my first novel, but none of them were evil people. I didn’t have to like what they did, but eventually I came to understand them better.

    • I think this is what happens for readers too. As they read along, sometimes you don’t like a character, but you connect with them anyway because they are real and not perfect!

      Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

  9. I have sort of hard time ‘designing’ flaws for my characters. So, what I tend to do is develop their background and write them as true to that as I can. In general, flaws will naturally appear. ^-^

  10. I did write a flaw that I later didn’t like. And when I went to change it throughout the book, I realized it would be like rewriting the entire story. So I left it. I think even flaws build character in some form. 🙂

  11. The flaws we write into our characters are often the flaws we see in others or ourselves. We dislike the flaws, that is why we wrote about them. That won’t change when we read it back later. What might change is our understanding of the flaw as the character evolves. Sometime flaws are what define people. Sometimes we can actually come to like or expect those same flaws as we grow to like the character.

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