Do you know anyone who is perfect? Every hair in perfect place? Their personality always forever shining? They know every right answer? Know the perfect thing to say even during those tough times?
I have a feeling some of you might be rolling your eyes and answering “Yes” because you are thinking of the person who acts like they are perfect, but, in the end, you know that person is not.
None of us are perfect. We are each beautifully flawed in our own ways. I want you to remember that phrase—beautifully flawed.
One of my pet peeves when reading is the perfect character. Every character in the book loves them. They are beautiful and intelligent and make every right decision and say every perfect thing and they are nothing less than God. This is also very unrealistic.
We are human, which means, we all make mistakes and have quirks that make us individuals.
When I write, I give every single character I write, even the secondary characters, a fatal flaw. That one thing about them that hurts not only themselves, but also has the potential to hurt the people surrounding them.
Yes, I can write a book where I give the character a problem and then the entire book follows their journey as they try to solve the problem, but what I believe makes a character worth reading is when we see them hurt.
Not only do we give the character a problem—for instance with Noah in Pushing the Limits, he wants custody of his brothers. I also gave him a fatal flaw—his inability to trust.
As we watch Noah try to solve his problem, we are also rooting for him to work past his fatal flaw. As readers, most of us have not had to fight for custody of our siblings, but odds are most of us have found trusting someone else to be difficult.
Fatal flaws in characters make them believable and they make them relatable.
One day my daughter came home upset with a bad test grade. She’s a great student, but was struggling with a new concept at school. I sat her down, wiped her tears away, and explained that all I ask of her is to try her best. I’m not interested in having a perfect child. Perfect people, in my opinion, are boring.
If everyone was perfect, we would be nothing more than cookie cutters of each other. That doesn’t sound interesting to me. We have all been made as individuals. We are wired differently from each other. We have strengths so we can help others and we have flaws so that we learn how to ask others for help. We are each beautifully flawed so why not write your characters with a few flaws of their own?