What's Wrong With You?

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

  • Petite, Blonde, Fierce, Loves Dragons.


  • Tall, weak chin, ambling gait, never serve him olives


  • Beautiful, but pockmarked, acne survivor, insecure, gorgeous voice


Bah, Humbug.


Writers spend too much time developing characters and not enough time understanding them.


They sit there with questionnaires studiously filling out the blanks of “What is your character’s favorite ice cream flavor” and “Where was your character born?”


Now these details aren’t completely inconsequential, especially if your character is an ice cream addict who grew up in an Alaskan Inuit community.


But people lose the forest for the trees (excuse the cliche, but it works here.)


At the heart of every story is conflict: The protagonist versus something else.


Now it’s easy to say what that something else is: her spouse, his best friend, the township, the dog.


What you really need to understand in your character is WHY are they having this conflict. What is WRONG with your character that this is challenging them. WHAT is getting in your character's way?


Answering this question will give you the character flaw to focus on as well as the character arc, how will they evolve from the beginning of the story until the end?


  • She is stubborn and therefore has a hard time listening to her husband’s suggestions, she needs to learn how to pick her battles.


  • He is a sidekick without any interests of his own, when his best friend bails on him, he needs to learn how to be a person in his own right.


  • He believes in a no holds barred first amendment right, the township doesn’t appreciate his divisive comments, if he wants to continue to be accepted he’ll need to find a balance.


  • She was bitten by a chihuahua as a kid and has a fear of dogs. Her fiance and his step kids own a doberman. Something’s gotta give or this relationship won’t last.


When you keep what’s getting in your character's way at all times you can deliberately sprinkle it throughout your story resulting in a well seasoned plot and delicious character.


Tell me what’s wrong with your character in your WIP?




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