Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Strengths into Weaknesses

When I was at the Ozark Writers Conference a few weekends ago, one of the speakers talked about finding your character's strength and teasing it into a weakness.

I found this idea intriguing. Often, we talk about turning our weaknesses into strengths. So why not torture our characters into doing the opposite?

For example, let's take my character Jayne. Remember Jayne?

One of Jayne's greatest strengths is her compassion. She genuinely cares for people and wants to make their lives better.

Unfortunately for Jayne, her gift of Sight shows her the way people will die.

It only takes a little bit of teasing to turn this strength into a weakness. If she cares about people, it hurts her when she isn't able to prevent their death. So she stops caring. She shuts of her emotions and blocks out the rest of the world. This leaves me with a lot of character development to explore and we know we'll see a lot of changes in Jayne throughout the story.

The bottom line is, CHARACTERS MUST BE FLAWED. If they are not, then there is no room for growth and the story will be flat. We want to experience a change.

Do you see a correlation between your characters' strengths and flaws?

And in case you haven't been paying attention, we're just getting started with my blog tour. The full calendar and contest information is on a tab at the top of my blog. Today's post is here. I mean, come on. Don't you want to win a Kindle??? :)


Dominique said...

That's a very interesting idea, teasing a strength into a weakness. I'll definitely have to think more about it during my edits on my WIPs.

JEFritz said...

That's a good idea. Making a strength a weakness is a good way to create conflict.

David P. King said...

Excellent point. Perfect characters make for dull reading. Flawed ones add intrigue. Nice post, Tamara.

Joanna St. James said...

Whenever i write a story outline I am so in love with them I never give them flaws I always have to remind myself to go back and damage them.
I love your jane BTW

Jennifer Hillier said...

Great post. Flaws definitely add to a character's complexity. One of my characters has so many flaws that's she's borderline unlikable, BUT I like to think she's interesting enough that it's okay. (At least I hope!)

Ann Best said...

A good post, Tamara. Ironically, strong characters do need flaws!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

thanks, David!

@Joanna, I like Jayne too!

@Jennifer--not too many flaws, and make sure there's character growth! I just finished a book that was very disappointing to me. The character didn't change! I was fed up with her by the end of the book.

Jemi Fraser said...

Good post! I'm going to have to put some thought into this one!

Diana Mieczan said...

That is such a great post, my dear
Hope you are having a great weekend

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