If you checked out this post, you’ve spent some time figuring out your character’s flaws, and now it’s time to actually use those flaws to make a better novel.
And the first thing you need to do is let the reader know about that character’s flaws and where it came from.
- HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
You want to show the reader why the character is the way they are.
Can you blame their childhood? Or something terrible? A lot of times our negative scripts in our brains or something horrible happening to us characters creates that flaw that is currently keeping us from having a nice, happy story.
Can you blame conditioning? Not the kind of conditioning you do for being fit, but the kind of conditioning that teachers, parents, the robots, the authority figures put you through. Is the flaw or negative belief system inherited via education or example?
Is it just your character’s brain? Sometimes our characters are not the smartest tools in the shed and they have big lies that motivate them or big flaws in their thinking or their logic because they make wrong assumptions because of things that they’ve experienced or seen in the past.
- MAKE SURE THE FLAW WORKS
You want your character’s flaw to flow well with the character. Most of us don’t know that we have flaws and we might ignore it (and bristle when someone brings it up) or think it’s actually a strength. A Slytherin doesn’t think cheating on a test is a bad thing. They think it’s being cunning or ambitious. A Carrie Jones doesn’t think being self-deprecating is annoying. She thinks it’s being authentic.
- REMEMBER THAT ONE FLAW LEADS TO ANOTHER
A lot of times you have one specific flaw destined and planned out for your character, but then they go and add more. That’s good. Most of us have more than one flaw.