Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weakness is my weakness

I finally figured it out. That elusive something that was missing from my novel in verse, SHARRA'S WAR:

Weakness.

My main character, Sharra, is too perfect. Too faithful, too determined, too selfless. Sure, she's a little insecure and has no clue how to use her unique ability. But that is SO not enough. And I've finally realized it (or, finally admitted it to myself).

During this realization, I have seen a pattern emerge. Many of my characters don't have big enough flaws. They don't have the room they need to stretch and grow and overcome their weaknesses.

I knew I had hit on something when I discussed this with daughter #2. She once told me that SHARRA'S WAR was perfect and that she would be mad at me if I changed it. But when I told her the other day that I think the problem with SHARRA'S WAR is that Sharra isn't flawed enough, she looked at me with a mildly pained expression and said, "Yeah," with a little nod of her head.

I've always known that characters need to be flawed. And now I am seeing what that really means for my own characters. We all need plenty of growing room, after all.

6 comments:

  1. Oh this is so good, Becky! Thanks for sharing your realization.

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  2. I think it's very easy to fall into this sort of trap. You get very attached to the character and start making decisions for him/her instead of letting the character decide. They have a life of their own in a way, and like you said, they need the room to grow without us hanging over the shoulder and guiding them.

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  3. Wonderful discovery ... can't wait to hear what comes of it!!

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  4. You're welcome, Angie!

    Marlena, something I've realized is that I do this in my real life all the time. I am the kind of person that will all but ignore the faults in a someone else. I tend to focus on the positive, which is usually, but not always, a good thing. It is interesting to see how that part of my personality affects my writing.

    Kelly, the excitement is mutual!

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  6. Oh, great realization! I can especially appreciate what you are saying because I read that manuscript!

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