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  1. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Top 5 flaws of your own MC?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by BillyxRansom, Apr 4, 2009.

    The idea here is to identify what kinds of flaws are going on with our main characters, in an attempt to scrutinize things we may not have noticed before. This way, we can fix what become apparent to us after exposing them.
    Here are mine, as I thought of them over the past few minutes:

    5. Not enough courage, he doesn't take a chance, he just kind of walks around aimlessly finding people to talk to.

    4. Not enough tact, he is kind of belligerent and just says things that he shouldn't get away with.

    3. Whiny, doesn't have the answers and thus continues to be a stalemate.

    2. Uncertain about himself and unaware of his surroundings. He needs to be more conscious of what's going on.

    1. Doesn't say a whole lot to advance things, no matter how much he says in a given conversation.

    Now, how to fix these flaws.... :confused:
     
  2. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    Don't fix the flaws if they go with the story; it makes him human.

    Mine...

    1. Too jealous.
    2. He is quite fickle, often times acting irritably and irrationally when things do not go his way.
    3. Too ambitious in some ways.

    Maybe more later on. This character is a lot like me actually.
     
  3. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    1. She is stubborn at times.
    2. She makes decisions that attribute to her own wishes rather than others at times.
    3. When pressured in one scene, she cannot find it in herself to kill the antagonist to save an innocent character.
    4. Out-spoken. (Not necessarily a bad trait though.)
    5. She makes mistakes-after all, she is only human!
     
  4. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    I don't understand this question but agree with Dr. D that if the character is weak, it is more because of the material around them. It is there you should improve, give them something to grip onto.

    A character is a character, whether he/she/it does it one way or another, if the story suits them, works with them, then it should be fine.
     
  5. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    Taylor, Taylor Taylor... These "flaws" are numbered only in the order in which they came to mind.

    1) Energy. She's extremely hyper and tends to think in ways that those around her don't understand--in other words, completely crazy ideas/concepts make perfect sense to her, and normal logic seems like a load of BS.

    2) Eccentricity. She'll believe in anything and everything, especially if there is no proof that it even exists.

    3) Paranoia. She is convinced that demons are out to kill her.

    4) Hostility. Although quite pleasant to those she knows, she treats strangers like scum. Mostly because she thinks any random person could be a demon in disguise.

    5) Demanding. She likes to be the one in command, and will not tolerate anything that she sees as "insubordination." For this reason, she hates every authority figure, no exceptions.

    I'm not sure if these can really be classified as flaws. After all, they're what make Taylor my favorite of my own characters so far. :D
     
  6. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    I can't really approach my character's personality as a list of traits- everything feeds off of everything else, including her background and the scene's context. She has a somewhat obsessive personalty which allows her to excel in her chosen field, but also makes it difficult to let go and to forgive. This leads to bitterness and anger, which through her cleverness results in a vicious sense of humour.

    How to 'fix' them? That what the story and character development are for.
     
  7. vanhunks
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    vanhunks Member

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    When I work on any character, my main preoccupation is to make them believable. Can the reader say, "this makes sense, what the character is saying, doing?"

    So yes, believability may be my [character's] number one flaw. From that, I suppose, the other flaws come. If the character is not believable, then he or she may have trouble relating information that will be acceptable.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    1 and 5 are more writing problems, and probably arise from a lack of plot dynamics rather than the design of the character. 2 and 4 sound more like character attributes, so they may be a problem for the character, but not the writer. 3 could be a mixture of both.

    The dynamics of plot drive a character to action. A character has a goal to achieve or a need to fulfill. He or she has a motivation to achieve that goal, which can vary in force/urgency. The character will also face opposition in attaining the goal. The tension between motivation and opposition is the conflict that defines the plot, and that is what moves the story along.
     
  9. Lostro
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    Lostro Member

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    One of my main characters called Ryan. He has his good points but often times he is:

    1. Stubborn
    2. pessimistic when concerning personal matters
    3. incorrigible procrastinator, loves saying "Eventually"
    4. Not great with kids
    5. unwarranted suspicion towards strangers.
     
  10. Just a small smackerel
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    1. Too trusting.
    2. Airheaded.
    3. Quick-lipped.
    4. Naive.
    5. Mortal.

    And yes, 5 is considered a flaw due to the plot itself. It really can serve as my MC's underdoing throughout the novel.
    But, characters need flaws. Otherwise you are going to have a Mary Sue. Make your character likeable, make people want to sympathize with them.
    I don't know why you would want to fix flaws unless they hinder your plot, and if that's the case, simply dismiss the flaws and rewrite it to where those flaws don't exist anymore.
     
  11. runback22
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    runback22 New Member

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    1. Much inner anger
    2. Low self esteem
    3. Lacks any hope for his future
    4. Loner
     
  12. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    1. Has high expectations of everyone around him
    2. Doesn't fit into normal society (for him) and this causes him a lot of problems
    3. #2 wouldn't be so bad but he isn't extremely strong (for what he is)
    4. Very intelligent, both a good and bad thing
    5. Seeks approval from his mentor to a point it's almost ridiculous.
     
  13. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    You know, a lot of these "flaws" being listed aren't inherently negative things. Something like ambition is normally considered a good thing unless that character is using it as a basis for other negative actions. Stubbornness is really contextual, if the character refuses to change their mind on something they're RIGHT about, it's a good thing. Not being great with kids isn't a flaw, it's a lack of a positive trait ie. neutral, and also going to depend on the character of the kids in question as to how that turns out. Being a loner is a lifestyle choice, not a flaw (really). And so on.

    Defining certain characteristics or interactions as generic flaws is only going to trivilise the more complex interactions between multiple characters, the context, their other motivations and traits ... And even in the rare clear cut cases, attempting to "fix" a character of their flaws is just going to end with an unrealistic character that's harder for your imperfect readers to identify with, and that's assuming changing your character isn't going to mess up the existing interactions and story. Unless your MC arbitrarily rapes puppies for leisure, in which case you personally may have more important issues to deal with.

    [/killjoy]
     
  14. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Billy when you ask how to remove those flaws, do you mean, how to make the character grow throughout the story? Or do you think he shouldn't have those flaws at all?

    I think character flaws are relative. What might be a character's flaw in one story will not be a flaw in another story. For example, Brad Zerek has a character flaw in my new romance. He is forty-one years old. In another story that might not be a character flaw, but in this one it is because the heroin, Zoey Bella, is twenty-two. He's old enough to be her father and this bothers her.

    Some of his other character flaws:

    He is a doctor.
    He is a Scorpio.
    He is scared of love, or perhaps change.
    He is shy about his awesome violin playing.

    The reason being a doctor and a Scorpio are weakness is because Zoey's Ex was studying to be a doctor and he is a Scorpio. Maybe Brad will sting her heart just like her Ex did.

    Zoey's weaknesses, the POV character.

    She's a singer and she can't project her voice in front of people.
    Doesn't believe she can be loved.
    Lacks confidence.
    She lies to hide the fact she is homeless.
    Pessimistic.
     
  15. Emilie
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    Emilie New Member

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    Little Lillian... she's messed up.

    1. She has the most aggressively perfectionist attitude I've ever had in a character. But that probably happens when you have to earn your mother's love... and have consistently failed to do so for 17 years.

    2. She's impulsive, mainly because she's acquired that classic adolescent rebellious streak coupled with a home life in which she might as well be the wallpaper. If she isn't loved by her mom, then she'll do her best at being despised by her.

    3. Although she is rebellious when it comes to her mother, she is soft spoken and shy at school, which prevents most people from ever picking up on her situation.

    4. At times, she fails to realize how lucky she is despite her mommy issues. Her father and sister support her, she has close friends, and she is mostly mentally stable, which is more than some people ever have.

    5. She is mortally afraid of being alone, which leads her to hold onto her friends no matter what. This is more or less the impetus of the plot, where she fails to reject a friend who wants something more because of her fear of losing that friendship. Said friend also happens to be mentally unstable. Chaos ensues.

    Character flaws aren't something that should be "fixed"... they are more or less the basis of a good plot, in my book.
     
  16. SilverRam
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    Oh Zenny, where do we start? Not in any particular order......

    1.He can act non-logical. He has a high IQ, and occasionally shows genius but too often common sense is overlooked. Always joking and messing around.

    2.He is a complete klutz.(was that spelled right?)

    3.Lies about his true feelings about something that happened in the past, he starts to believe the facade himself.

    4.Sometimes he has trouble with emphasizing with people. There is a serious reason to this.

    5.Very blunt. Not exactly a bad thing, but it won't be appreciated by some people. He also unwittingly puts another character into a awkward position several times.(Well, maybe not unwittingly.)
     
  17. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    I don't really see many flaws in the one I've written so far, but I suppose it's all right. It's nice to have a strong character once in a while.

    The only flaw I really see in mine is that he sometimes is too quick to act on things and doesn't really think before doing something.
     
  18. keeklies
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    5) swears like a sailor
    4) lacks physical description
    3) too suspicious of everyone she meets
    2) catty

    and the number one problem with my protag:

    1) too wacky, over-the-top, nuts (comes across like she has a mental illness)
     
  19. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    Are you writing a story about me, runback? :confused:
     
  20. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    1 - Proud (Too much so)

    2 - Out of touch from reality (stories reality)

    3 - Has only one goal, everything else gets neglected. (Self, others)

    4 - Cant say "No" even if in the face of death, if its for greater good.

    5 - Relies on luck WAY too much. We all know luck never lasts.
     
  21. ArckAngel
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    Jim O'Connor is:
    1. Head Strong. Almost to the point of being bigoted.
    2. Up tight. Everything has to be done according to the plan.
    3. He doesn't open up easily. A hard man to get to know. Thank god he's reliable though.
    4. He is afraid of new and different things.
    5. He's has an addictive personality. He works too much, he's trying to quit smoking, and when he drinks, he drinks well.
     
  22. the norse atlantic saga
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    the norse atlantic saga Member

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    Nora Rasmussen:

    1. Does not face upsetting things head-on
    2. Does not form lasting relationships (not that she can't - she prefers not to)
    3. Is not outwardly sentimental and a lack of expressing that feeling compounds it (to her detriment).
    4. Deliberately pins her hopes and dreams to a world of theory so that the real world is less unpleasant to experience.
    5. Does not forgive, ever.
     
  23. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Uhm, my MC is:

    5. Spoiled. Hasn't done anything to deserve what he has.

    4. Lazy. Doesn't work, he just parties and enjoy his hobbies.

    3. Relies heavily on other people. His life would be upside down if his two closest friends were to vanish (more so that people who aren't that dependant on them).

    2. Materialistic. To the point of obsession with his collection(s).

    1. Self-centred. The people he cares about have very obvious things going on but he doesn't notice them until someone else tells him. Man, broken down like that my MC seems completely unlikable.
     
  24. SilverRam
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    SilverRam Member

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    Heh.
    I think everyone is feeling that. Mine sounds like a lunatic. Maybe we should have a Top 5 virtues of your MC thread.

    Y/N?
     
  25. Zayleus
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    Zayleus New Member

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    Ooo, this sounds fun. I'll pick James Harlem from my summer novel.

    1. The worst, out of all, I must say, is the fact that he's got a little problem. You see, he kills people and rather seems to enjoy it. I see this as the flaw (though my readers seemed to like it 0_0).

    2. He's a little cocky. Thinks too much of himself.

    3. He can be very... hostile. That can't do too well for his social life, eh?

    4. James Harlem is a killer. Gee, I can't think of anything else anymore. That fact just keeps coming back to mind.
     
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