Character Flaws

-are absolutely necessary.  From what I understand, character flaws are any physical, mental, emotional, or social “issue” that holds the individual back in some way.  These can vary from not-a-big-deal to life-altering.  Character flaws make the individuals in the story more real, more relatable, and crucially, more interesting.

Static archetypes are incredibly boring.  If no one cares about the characters, then it all falls flat.  The best plot wouldn’t save a story if the characters are all perfectly good, perfectly bad, and perfectly dull.  This is one of the things I thought Dostoyevsky did well with Raskolnikov.  Even though nothing happened for 700 pages, Raskolnikov’s character gained great depth and his every thought and action made him more intriguing.

Obvious “good guys” and “bad guys” are almost as detrimental.  That’s one of the main things I liked about the Song of Ice and Fire books (apart from GRRM killing main characters like no one else will): there is no good -vs- evil, merely different sides of the same struggle.  Sometimes the character shows mercy, sometimes they slaughter and torture indiscriminately.  Sometimes they’ll save thousands, sometimes they’ll stick them with the pointy end.

Perfection isn’t just unattainable, it’s boring as well.  Flawless characters are in fact deeply flawed since they aren’t real.

Character Flaws