Friday, April 9, 2010

Give them Flaws

There's no such thing as a perfect person, even though many would like to think they are, so characters should not be as well.

I have a habit of observing people (and working in a cafe gives me a lot of people to observe) and forming characters from snippets of what I see, whether it's the way someone does their hair, hair colour, way they walk, etc. I noticed the other day that the first thing I actually look for when I gather information for my characters is a flaw or a little quirk that would make my character unique.

Isn't it true that when you first see someone that you first notice any flaw or absurdity that they have? Whether it's in the way they walk, look or talk, some little trait that makes them stand out from the crowd always attracts my eyes.

After all, no one likes reading about someone who looks absolutely gorgeous from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep and never does anything wrong. No one would be able to relate to a character like that.

When making observations for characters, or even if someone catches your eye, take notice of what exactly draws your attention. It's probably going to be, more often than not, a flaw or some little quirk that the person has.

So, where do your characters come from and do you set about to give them traits or quirks to make them stand out?

6 comments:

Deb Salisbury said...

Great post! I do try to give my characters quirks. I think that all of their oddities rolled together create "voice."

Annie McMahon said...

Good point, Cheree. I'm reading the second Harry Potter book right now, and one of the first thing that's mentioned about him is his messy hair. LOL It makes him more "real" than if he was a perfect little boy, doesn't it?

Lydia Kang said...

It's so true. I mean, physically, if you saw someone so perfect, it would be a strange and off-putting thing indeed.
I've learned to put flaws in my characters. Where's the journey for perfect people, right?

Lisa and Laura said...

This is fantastic advice, Cheree! I'm so jealous that you get to work in a cafe every day. I'm usually stuck on my couch with kids screaming in the background. Oh well....either way, I can't wait to try this out!

Jana Hutcheson said...

This is something I've been trying to do more of in my writing. Thanks for the insight!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

The more flawed the better! Some of my pet peeves end up as my character flaws. I always have fun writing flaws and coming up with funny scenes using them!

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