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25 October 2008 @ 03:32 pm
How to Show the Cracks in a Character  
When a character has issues, show them making bad decisions.

Hint at how they're messed up by having them make bad personal choices deliberately.

They pick things that are not good for them, that are not nice, that hide the fact that they are lonely, or need people, or want an emotional connection. They sleep with the wrong people, or are rude, or are dangerous with their lives, or deliberately take a step back and look away and not join in with the others.

The reader should want something more for them. Hint that the character wants it too. But don't give it to us--at least not in the beginning. Build to the comfort, to allowing themselves to reach out.

mrwubbles on October 31st, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
You know, you make a very good point. The thing about writing a character, especially one you hope the readers will latch on to, is the temptation to make him/her perfect. Whether in fic or in other creative endeavors, the character--let's call him 'Joe' for arguement's sake (no, he's not a plumber) LOL--takes on personal value for the writer.

'Joe' is our offspring between muse and pen. And like every parent, we want 'Joe' to be happy, fed, and content. But Joe can be grating to the readers because there's no drive anymore, no motivation. I mean, if 'Joe's' so perfect, why the hell are we reading or want to care about him?

'Joe' needs to be flawed but in a functioning sort of way. If Joe was a romantic figure, maybe someone else complements him and fills in his flaws with emotional spackle. Whatever it is, I agree, you're so right, 'Joe' needs to be imperfect, but only just enough that the reader goes 'Yeah, Joe' when something goes right and 'Aw, Joe' when something doesn't. We can't be afraid to stub 'Joe's' toe.

Provided he learns to walk around what stubbed it next time.

Very astute observation. Sorry the response ran on for it. -lol-

Edited at 2008-10-31 04:08 pm (UTC)