I have been reading a lot recently, as well as watching lots of different things, and what really intrigues me is characterisations. What traits or characteristics do authors pull from themselves and those they love around them to build their characters?
Every author wants to create the perfect characters – because by doing that, they then hope that everyone will love that character, just as much as the author does. Naturally we want our characters to have the best of the best characteristics and traits – after all – they are our creation, and in some way, we are playing ‘god’ with our books. We are the creators of these worlds. Some authors set the characters up to have no flaws, lots of money, perfect features, etc etc, and therefore a reader can then feel the character is a bit ‘plastic’. Fake. False. They have thoughts about that character of – ‘how unrealistic; no body acts like that,’ and so on.
The author can become quite baffled by this sort of response, and in turn, they utter such phrases as: ‘How can you say those things?’ ‘This character is amazing – obviously you have no idea what you’re talking about.’ ‘They are the perfect creation!’
And if you really really get down to the nitty-gritty of the matter – perfect characters are boring to read. Who the hell wants to read about perfect people all the time? The world is not full of replicas of Ken and Barbie.
By writing flaws into characters it can enhance interest in your plot, character drivers, and if you really hit the nail on the head – you can create someone that everyone adores and loves – regardless of the flaws that you weave into them.
Nobody is perfect. No one. We love those around us who have flaws, so make sure that you let your characters have flaws as well. Let them even flaw themselves with their own flaws and working through the issues. That’s what makes them believable. That’s what gives the book depth with character plots.
Give your characters strengths, but more importantly – give them weaknesses.