Monday, June 3, 2013

The Flavor is in the Flaw

I'm baack! But more about that on Wednesday for the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Today, I'll be over at Dianne Salerni's Blog - hope you can join us!

And now, I'm thrilled to have Rachel Morgan here today talking about flawed characters!

Check it out:)

Flawed Characters in Fiction

Why have flawed characters?

If you start reading a book with perfect characters in it, you'll probably put it down. Perfect people are boring! Who wants to read about them? Flawed people, however, are more interesting. They make mistakes. Mess up. So you keep reading because you want to find out what happens to them. Flaws also mean characters that you can relate to. You understand and forgive them for the mistakes they make, because you might do the same thing in that (fictional) situation. And after the mistakes comes the conflict. A good book must have conflict, and there would be no conflict if there were only perfect people! Lastly, the most important reason characters should have flaws is so that they have space to grow. What’s the point of a story if the characters aren’t going to learn something from it?

Some examples of flawed characters

Damon Salvatore, The Vampire Diaries


This guy is SUPER flawed when we first meet him! Selfish, arrogant, proud, manipulative, and he shows no remorse for the tons of humans he kills.

What redeems him?

Bottom line: his love for Elena. As he falls in love with her, his humanity starts to show through. He begins to care for certain people. He loves his brother. He will do ANYTHING to protect Elena. And at the end of the day when he winds up second best yet again (Katherine chose Stefan; now Elena chooses Stefan), our hearts break for him.

Will Herondale, The Infernal Devices series


When we meet Will in Clockwork Angel, he is a complete and total jackass to absolutely everyone except his best friend. He uses his quick witted and sarcastic tongue to lash out at people, even those trying to be nice to him. I was convinced I could never like him.

What redeems him?

Then along came Clockwork Prince. We find out exactly why Will acts the way he does, and it makes SO. MUCH. SENSE. We understand how alone he must have felt all these years because of the curse. And we know, we just KNOW, that when he finally realizes he can be happy, it’s already too late.


Harry Potter, the Harry Potter series


Harry can be arrogant, hot-tempered, and act too quickly without pausing to think.

What redeems him?

Come on. He freaking defeats the Dark Lord Voldemort! And how does he do that? He gives himself up to die at Voldemort’s hand. He realizes that Voldemort cannot be killed while he, Harry, still lives. So he chooses to sacrifice himself.

Are there flawed characters in The Faerie Prince?

Absolutely! Violet focuses far too much on being the best. She is kind of emotionally stunted. She refuses to deal with things that hurt her, choosing instead to push them deep down into her imaginary Stuff I Don’t Think About box.

Ryn is downright rude to people in order to keep them at a distance. Does he have a reason for doing this? You betcha ;-) But you’ll have to read The Faerie Prince to find out what it is! Speaking of which, you can find it at the following places online, plus a few others:

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About the Author:

Rachel Morgan was born in South Africa and spent a large portion
of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. After completing a
degree in genetics, she decided science wasn’t for her—after all, they didn’t
approve of made-up facts. These days she spends much of her time immersed in
fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults.|

Don't forget the giveaway!


  1. So true that characters need to be flawed to be interesting. And you've used some great examples. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Great post! But I couldn't see any of the pics. Maybe its my computer.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  3. Wonderful point! I can't think of a single perfect person that I know, anyway. Besides, if they're perfect, what sort of resolution can they ever hope to have?

  4. No one is perfect and neither should characters be perfect.
    Your Violet sounds like my Byron.
    And I saw you at MaineWords today, Gwen!

  5. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Gwen!

  6. If the characters are too perfect, than as Alex intimated, it's not realistic. There's no point of empathy! Great sounding book. :)

  7. Great to see you here too, Rachel! And I so agree about flawed characters, that's an essential ingredient for a great story to me. Love that pic of Damon Salvatore, yum! :D

  8. Flawed characters are definitely so much fun to read about!

  9. It's my pleasure to host you today, Rachel. I'm going to get my copy of The Faerie Prince when I get home! I'm following the Clockwork series - just started The Faerie Prince. And Will? I knew there was more to him. I'm sad to say I've never seen/read the Vampire Diaries, though. I'll have to remedy that.

  10. The fun is in creating a difficult character and then revealing throughout the story why he or she is that way.

  11. Thank you for the comments, everyone! We all love a good flawed character ;-)
    Gwen, the earlier seasons of The Vampire Diaries are great. I'm a Damon fan, obviously ;-) And I'm really excited to read the final book in The Infernal Devices Clockwork series!

  12. Agreed. Flawed people make the best subjects in fiction writing.

  13. This is a really great way of describing why some characters are so interesting and why others kind of fall flat. Nailed it!

  14. What's funny is that if I were to start reading a book with "perfect" characters, my brain will immediately suspect some sort of Stepford-wife syndrome or a dystopian-controlled society that will soon show the cracks in the perfection. If none of that happens, well, where's the fun?

    Flaws, pure and simple, are human. And that is what we are.

    *Welcome back, Partner!*

    1. LOL, me too.

      As light as my characters are, they're still flawed.

      Thanks, Angela, it's good to be back :)

  15. Great examples! I made the mistake of creating characters too perfect when I first started, then I made them too unlikable, lol. Hopefully by now they're just right :-)

  16. We're all liking the flawed characters ;-)


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