To Flaw, Or Not?

It absolutely baffles me that people equate flaws with weakness. Why can a woman or a man not be a strong human being if they have a flaw? I see no reason why that should matter. After all, flaws are what make you human. You’re not going to find even one person out in the world who isn’t in possession of a handful of flaws. This applies to fictional human beings as well.

Giving your leading lady or man a flaw (or several of them) isn’t going to detract from them being a strong lead. In fact, it’s going to aid it. Let’s be honest, if your character has no room to grow or learn, then they’re not a strong character and why are we reading this story?Strong leads need flaws. The point of a strong lead is that they are undeniably human, that they are learning to overcome some flaws and embrace others. They are learning to work with their flaws.

If you don’t have a flawed character, you don’t have a story. Equally, if you don’t have a strong lead, you don’t have a story. And those background characters of yours? They’re not interesting if they don’t have flaws. Quite often background characters can outshine the lead because of their particular flaws and how they deal with them. If that’s the case, you should probably rewrite your story with them as the lead. Why? Because people like strong leads, with their flaws and all.

I’m not sure where this belief came about regarding flaws and weakness, but I think it’s one that needs to be put to rest. Do you look at the people around you and think, “Ah, yes, you have a flaw so you’re not a strong person?” I’m thinking you probably don’t. Women are allowed to not be perfect. Men are allowed to not be perfect. Our obsession with perfection is absolutely ridiculous. Ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t exist.

Embrace your flaws. Stop thinking they’re signs of weakness. Make your characters flawed AND strong. Forget perfection and look for inspiration.

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