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Character Flaws

Comicality

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Are any of us perfect? I mean, I'm sure that a lot of us realize that we're not actually perfect...and the few that do believe they're perfect are often blind narcissists...hehehe, and therefore NOT perfect! Honestly, that's not even something that I would ever want to shoot for. If perfection is determined by some sort of direct formula or standard, if it's a bunch of little boxes that all have to be checkmarked to be considered a part of that group...then that would mean it's our imperfections that make us different. Unique. Hell, even mildly interesting. Who would want to toss that aside from a life free from stress, worry, and pain? Am I right? Hehehe! We're not perfect...our characters shouldn't be perfect either. Today...we talk character flaws.

 

Now, when I say the word 'flaw', I don't you guys to start cringing and worrying and shouting out, "But I don't WANT my main characters to become unlovable douchebags!!!" Shhhh, calm down. It doesn't have to go that far. Ok? Character flaws can be minor. They can be human. And if you plan ahead and play your cards right, you can use those flaws and the flaws of your love interest, to build a wonderful story arc where your characters learn to battle those demons and overcome those flaws for an amazing story that can get your readers to think, evolve, and maybe even change themselves. It's all in the way you put it together in your story.

 

So, what are flaws? What are we talking about here? That's the big question, right? Well, I happen to be a very flawed individual myself, and I'm fully aware of what those flaws are. That's what helps me maintain a conscience about them and try to fix them when they get in the way of me being a decent human being. Naturally, as a writer's creation is always a reflection of the writer, those flaws trickle down to my characters, and I use them as chess pieces to tell a bigger story and to hopefully have a deeper theme. Even if it's done in a slightly exaggerated way.

 

It's easy to want your protagonist to be a good soul and a true angel, through and through. Even easier for your main love interest to shine even brighter and be even more magnificent, to the point where the entire choir of Heaven shouts down at you from the clouds above at his mere appearance. Ohhhhhhhhh, Hallelujah! But as tempting as it is to do that, you're going to end up running out of things to say VERY quickly. There would be no conflict. No adversity. No challenge. What would you do for the rest of the story?

 

"I love you."

"I love you more."

"No, I love YOU more!"

"Unh unh...I love YOU more, times infinity!"

 

Yeahhhh...don't spend ten pages doing that to your readers. That's just plain mean. Hehehe!

 

When I speak about character flaws, I'm talking about typical human traits that could somehow be used to add a touch of literary color to what you're writing. Maybe your main character is a great guy, but he has a bit of a jealous streak. He's involved in his first gay relationship ever, and his brand new boyfriend is talking to the star quarterback of the football team? How would you feel? I have written stories where one of the boys was 'out and proud', but his boyfriend wasn't. There's a slight friction there. I wrote a story where the main character was the victim of physical abuse from his father, and finds it hard to even believe in himself enough to approach his own boyfriend without being suspicious. I've written about people who have had their hearts broken before and are afraid to love again, boys who feel inadequate because of their financial status, or boys who think the person they're in love with is so far out of their league that even trying to ask them out seems like a waste of time. These are all HUMAN traits. They're situations that we've all dealt with in one way or another. Some people are painfully shy, some have a mean streak in them, some have religious constraints, some have age restrictions, some have problems with alcohol, or drugs, or just an unhealthy connection to their ex-boyfriend. These things can be used to enrich your characters and give them a added level of depth, they're not meant to ruin them or make them unlikable. Not at all. In fact, the very concept of dealing with these personality flaws can become the backbone of your story and make it an exciting read for everyone who's reading it. While the loving relationship, the breathless kisses, and of course...the mind-blowing SEX...is the centerpiece of most erotic stories, how much cooler would it be to also touch on a partner dealing with substance abuse? Or maybe cheating on their significant other? Or maybe keeping people at arm's length because he's scared of commitment? Everything from the insecurity of being with an online 'celebrity', to the aggravation and agony of a long distance relationship, can become an enthralling part of your project, and it might just touch people in a deeper way than you ever thought possible.

 

To me? A super hot, super perfect, person...falling for another super hot, super perfect, person...doesn't hold much entertainment value. It's GREAT for a ten minute session of 'cocking the shotgun', hehehe! But once you clean up, who really remembers that? It's not that I don't understand the true intention of erotica, but if it doesn't feel like a real experience to your readers...then it becomes less about your writing and more about their fantasies. Which would mean...they could get the same thing anywhere. From anyone. If you want to stand out, never be afraid to add a little extra layer to your stories and have an impact. I'm not saying that you have to turn it into a soap opera about something else entirely, but drawing attention to little flaws and having them deal with it between marathons of naked sex-scapades will only help you to stand out even more. And it'll keep people coming back for the next story you write. And the next. and the next.

 

I'm thinking that's a goal a lot of us are working towards.

 

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6 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

I like normal or realistic flaws in characters. If the flaw becomes the defining characteristic of a person, it can cause me to abandon the story. For me this is particularly the case if the flaw is emotional in character and never gets tempered or influenced by rational thought or logic. I'm sure other readers have other kinds of flaws they dislike for whatever reasons.

 

An example: A boy is in love with someone he thinks is unobtainable, due to status, looks, or whatever. We all know the feeling, right? However, his best friend  disputes this fact and his arguments sounds good (to us). But the boy isn't convinced, because he think his friend is biased. Fair enough. But then the object of his affections shows interest or even invites him out. Or the boy find him in a vulnerable moment and helps him, realizing he's human after all. If the boy still persists in thinking he's unworthy and keeps wallowing in this feeling to the point where it puts a (future) relationship in danger, then this flaw becomes the main focus of the story rather than what the boy can do to overcome it.

That's the point where I give up. :( 

That drives me bonkers. I walk away from those types too. You go around in circles.

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I actually DELIGHT in writing ruined or ruinous characters who's own messed up ways of thinking and doing an being look so completely horrible and unappealing . . . at first. Ever single one of my characters is basically a mess. Even my 'Adonises' are complete emotional basket cases and, usually, think they themselves are unattractive and unappealing.

 

The fun is getting in there are living through these people's messed up minds and then fabricating a reality that usually denies these erroneous beliefs and assumptions. If you have all Supermen and Superwomen you ought to write a story this long:

 

"Everyone was born happy, lived happy, and were happy ever after forever. Amen. The end." Boring.

 

So interesting characters are characters that have facets: both dark and bright.

 

 

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I came up with a story idea recently. A boy named Leo has planned to spend a week in Venice Beach, California with his best friend. However, a cosmic wrench is thrown into the works when his friend fails to appear, and their hotel reservation is cancelled. Enter a cute surfer dude with sandy-blonde hair, dimpled cheeks and bronze skin. (Is there any other kind? :gikkle: ) Benji, as he introduces himself, is bored, because all of his friends have left town for their own holidays. So, they decide to have some fun, and hang out at Santa Monica Pier. Sounds cute so far, right? "What about the flaws?" You ask. Well, for one thing, Leo HATES his name. He reveals that his mom decided to name him after Leo, the constellation, because he was born in July; however, he was born on July 21st, two days before the astrological calendar switches from Cancer to Leo. :facepalm: As for Benji, he can be a bit bossy, pushing Leo to go on rides he wouldn't normally ride on, eating food he would never dream of trying, etc. But Benji's bossiness makes him bold, leading him to be very comfortable and confident with who he is. Leo's name is a constant reminder of expectations that he has no hope of living up to, and creates a lot of self-doubt in his mind. Benji, however, points out that a person's name doesn't determine their destiny. :)

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On 2/9/2018 at 10:08 AM, Page Scrawler said:

I came up with a story idea recently. 

 

:lol:  I've found your flaw. You keep coming up with all these great ideas for stories, but they never seem to get written ? ;) 

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3 hours ago, Timothy M. said:

 

:lol:  I've found your flaw. You keep coming up with all these great ideas for stories, but they never seem to get written ? ;) 

Hush, you! :P I know some people think Comsie is a god, but there's only 24 hours in a day. As for me, I have lots of housework to do during the day, when I'm not working at the deli! :rolleyes:

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