Friday, February 22, 2013

The Value of Flawed Characters

Unhinged recently received a couple of reviews that mentioned how much they liked the flawed characters, and not just the main character, but all of them. Those flaws, those subtle quirks draw the reader into your character's world. Hell, give the mailman walking by a limp and he becames three dimensional even though he appears in one sentence.

No matter how perfect someone seems, you can believe there is a deep, dark secret...politicians, religious leaders, soldiers, and even stay-at-home moms. Everyone wants something and in literary terms, it drives the novel. Once you develop and embrace your character's flaws, you have to make damn sure their actions follow suit.

I find that most protagonists in thrillers and mysteries are good looking, strong, smart, inquisitive - all the things that make a hero, but in real life, would this person not be a wise-ass? Would this person not be selfish? Would this person not be cynical? Would this person not be eternally optimistic from a fear of not being liked? I'm not suggesting you change your character, just add another layer to them and you might find their choices and actions write themselves.

I always thought James Bond 007 was a series of movies about stunts, explosions and chases until the most recent movies when they gave him a little depth and suddenly he became interesting. As I think about it, Ignatious from Confederacy of Dunces is as unnattractive a main character as you can get and yet, he is so...warped and out there that you can't help be carried along in his comedic drama.

Anyway, those two reviews I mentioned are:


Thanks to everyone who downloaded the free versions of Unhinged, which runs until the end of February. Get it NOW!

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