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DwayneA
03-28-2009, 01:45 AM
Often I have a hard time detecting character flaws and traits whenever I'm reading. Although I've only begun to understand how characters work, I'm still struggling with detecting strengths, flaws, positive and negative traits.. For some characters and minor characters, I can't find any flaws or negative traits.

Can someone help? Has this happened to anyone else here?

Sophia
03-28-2009, 01:56 AM
Could you give examples of some of the characters whose flaws you can't find? It might help us to answer your question, as we could say what we perceive the flaws to be, and why.

C.J. Rockwell
03-28-2009, 02:11 AM
I can relate.

Not to be pushy or self-righteous, but you mind find some helpful advice in the post I made on the subject-

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=126160

At the very least you'll find solace, which I feel all writers need at some point.:)

DwayneA
03-28-2009, 02:19 AM
Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series
Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
James and some of the insects from James and the Giant Peach
Fern from Charlotte's Web

CaroGirl
03-28-2009, 02:39 AM
Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series
Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
James and some of the insects from James and the Giant Peach
Fern from Charlotte's Web
How about characters from books that are for grown ups? Children's literature has different "rules" in that protagonists can often be seen as exaggeratedly "perfect" in contrast to the chaotic villainy around them. It's a common trope in children's literature. You probably won't find much wrong with Matilda either. But Alice is a little mouthy.

DwayneA
03-28-2009, 02:45 AM
I don't have any adult fiction books at home. Well, none that have been recently published.

What kinds of flaws are there?

roseangel
03-28-2009, 02:47 AM
What kind of flaws exist? If the flaws are in real life, then they are also in novels.

geardrops
03-28-2009, 02:50 AM
I don't have any adult fiction books at home. Well, none that have been recently published.

What kinds of flaws are there?

Can you get to a library?

DwayneA
03-28-2009, 02:52 AM
There are two library's in my current town, one just down the street and one at the school.

Sophia
03-28-2009, 02:54 AM
Well, you could look at the characters you're familiar with, such as the ones you've listed, and list their positive traits. Then, think about what the opposite to those traits could be.

For example, Dumbledore is someone that Harry can rely on and trust, particularly in the early books. We know that if Harry goes to see Dumbledore with a problem, it is likely that although he won't be simply handed a solution, he will get some sort of support.

Think about what the opposite of reliable and trustworthy are. You could go straight to an online dictionary for this, and look up their antonyms. If Dumbledore was unreliable and untrustworthy, how might he act? A way he could be unreliable is if he was very bad with organising his time, and when Harry comes to him for help, he has to turn him away because he's too busy with something he should have done earlier but didn't. If he was untrustworthy, he could take what Harry confides to him and share it with other people. He doesn't have to have evil motives to do this -- he could simply have poor judgement. Which is another character flaw.

CaroGirl
03-28-2009, 02:55 AM
Dwayne, part of your problem, as I see it, is that you're often trying to compare apples and oranges. Each medium--movies, cartoons, TV shows, fiction for adults, children's literature, and so on--has different rules, and different reasons for those rules. You sometimes don't find flaws in the protagonists in children's literature because the flawless protagonist is a common device. And that's just one example.

In good adult fiction, every character has flaws. Sometimes the flaws are subtle, but more often the flaws are blatant and easy to spot. Most characters have several (hundred). Read anything for the adult market and you'll find character flaws. The main character in the Shopaholic series spent more money than she earned and had bad luck with men.

I know. Try Dickens. What are some of Scrooge's flaws (that's an easy one)? How about Mrs. Haversham? And, as I see it, Oliver's flaw was that he was too perfect, almost unreal. Keep looking. How about Shakespeare? Loads of flawed characters there.

DwayneA
03-28-2009, 02:57 AM
What I'm asking is how do I detect and determine a character's flaws?

CaroGirl
03-28-2009, 03:00 AM
What I'm asking is how do I detect and determine a character's flaws?
By what they do. What does Scrooge do and say that make you know he's a miserly SOB who hates people? A whole heap of things.

When the POV character is 1st person, you can also tell their flaws by what they think about other people and the situations they're in.

DwayneA
03-28-2009, 03:02 AM
ah, I get it now! Thanks!

Sophia
03-28-2009, 03:06 AM
Flaws are generally things that make a character less likeable to other people if they are acted out. For example, someone could have a flaw that they like to dominate conversations, loving the sound of their own voice and wanting for the other people involved to just listen to them admiringly. This character could be saying helpful and useful things, but by acting like this, they can cause other people to feel as if their own opinions are being dismissed and that they are being talked down to, which might well make them dislike the character.

So to detect flaws, you could look at how other characters view the one character you are examining. Do they think about him or her positively? Look at their thoughts, words and actions and see if you can tell. If you think they hold negative thoughts, pinpoint what the character did that inspired those thoughts in the other characters. That thing is likely to be an example of them acting on their flaws.

This works best with adult fiction!

geardrops
03-28-2009, 03:11 AM
There are two library's in my current town, one just down the street and one at the school.

Then go get some grown-up books.

C.J. Rockwell
03-28-2009, 03:15 AM
Dwayne, part of your problem, as I see it, is that you're often trying to compare apples and oranges. Each medium--movies, cartoons, TV shows, fiction for adults, children's literature, and so on--has different rules, and different reasons for those rules. You sometimes don't find flaws in the protagonists in children's literature because the flawless protagonist is a common device. And that's just one example.

In good adult fiction, every character has flaws. Sometimes the flaws are subtle, but more often the flaws are blatant and easy to spot. Most characters have several (hundred). Read anything for the adult market and you'll find character flaws. The main character in the Shopaholic series spent more money than she earned and had bad luck with men.

I know. Try Dickens. What are some of Scrooge's flaws (that's an easy one)? How about Mrs. Haversham? And, as I see it, Oliver's flaw was that he was too perfect, almost unreal. Keep looking. How about Shakespeare? Loads of flawed characters there.

You're a journalist aren't you, CaroGirl?

If not, how do you sleep at night?

The idea of one individual having 700+ flaws
(Crying as I beat my head against the wall)

I'm still growing in this area myself, DwayneA, so don't feel like you're suffering alone.

Just remember, no matter what, you have to feel reasonably comfortable with the characters you're writing about, regardless of what their shortcomings are, or how many.

Otherwise you won't enjoy the story you want to tell, and believe me, it shows in the writing.

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 04:00 AM
Like real people, character flaws are not some kind of Column A, Column B list. You don't get to sit down and say, "OK, let's make a list of all the good points and bad points about Dumbledore."

In fact, Dumbledore is just Dumbledore. How do you detect flaws? You can't. A virtue for someone maybe a flaw for another. It's a subjective judgment. But Dumbledore is a multidimensional person simply because he doesn't sit around thinking, "How many flaws do I have? How much much bad stuff have I done today?"

Neither should you.

Instead of obsessing over making a laundry list of what makes a character good or bad or flawed or perfect -- which I feel like you've been doing recently -- focus on writing characters that are realistic like the people you meet in real life. Do you have friends? Do you have a family? What are your friends and family like? What are YOU like? I bet you don't sit around thinking about what kind of virtues and flaws you or your friends have... you just ARE who you are.

Write your characters that way.

C.J. Rockwell
03-28-2009, 04:42 AM
You just ARE who you are. Write your characters that way.

I did, and yet I'm constantly told they're not realistic.

Why else would DwayneA and I have these questions and frustrations in the first place?

I can't make anyone see the characters the way I do, as many have constantly told me, which I wasn't trying to do in the first place. All I've wanted are stories that are of the highest possible quality I can achieve.

Despite my lack of success in this area, at this point I know how I see all the characters in all my novels, especially Gabriel which I've devoted countless hours of time before I took a break from it back in December 2008.

But as many have brutally pointed out to me, there's either too much emotion, not enough emotion.

Too much detail, not enough detail.

I really think there's a difference between being honest and being critically nitpicky.

It's like we're cursed if we write what we desire no matter what others find unrealistic and are labeled egomaniacs.

Or we're cursed by seeking advice and feedback on our WIPs being told that it's not real because xyz...abc....etc.

How can you ever really win? Make up your mind!!

Isn't it possible to write about characters the way you see fit, but no one indentifies with them, or if they do, they give a long laundry list of what (in their minds) doesn't work or ring true?

However troubled they are, if I can't feel comfortable with my characters, I won't enjoy the stories I want to tell, and it SHOWS in the writing, whether I mean it to or not.

DwayneA
03-28-2009, 05:46 AM
of course I have a family.

Dad works in a store, getting up early in the morning at about 6:00 and goes to bed before 9:00 at night. He's a workaholic who works even on the holidays, even on the birthdays of his two granddaughters.

Mom also works in the store and has a successful costume rental business (she sewed all of them, and is making more still). She cooks for us, yet for herself, she makes dishes that dad and I call strange. According to her, she doesn't even eat "regular food anymore".

Mom and dad don't even celebrate anniversaries anymore. For years, they've slept in separate bedrooms. I often hear them argue about the store, customers, and other things. I don't even hear them say "I love you" to each other anymore. They never have any time together to themselves. I doubt that will change when I move out soon.

My middle sister Amy is married and has two little girls. I don't know much about her.

My youngest but still older sister Becky will soon be celebrating her first anniversary with her husband, a man from Romania. They both work on a cruise ship.

My oldest sister Sheila lives in the city and has a successful career, but what profession I do not know. She has a cat, she used to have a dog, but had to put it to sleep last year because his broken leg wasn't getting better. She'll be buying a new house soon.

My younger brother Jeff is more successful than I am in all fields. He has his own place here in town and is popular with girls. According to what he says, he's smarter, better looking, stronger, and a better person. In all, he's such a jerk to me. He's been picking on me even before I was diagnosed with Asperger's.

My only friend who lives nearby, Krista, recently moved to the city. She's never known her father and was always getting into arguements with her mother, even hitting her. She has a boyfriend who is twice her age! I'm the only friend her age she has.

Other than all this stuff I've written down, I don't know much about my family or friends. Yet they are real people. So how do I make my characters real without focusing on good or bad traits?

Nivarion
03-28-2009, 10:49 AM
flaws don't have to be positive or negative.

Lets take me for example. A negative flaw I have is that is indisputably negative is that I can loose my head in politics.
But flaws that can be classified as strait POSITIVE or NEGATIVE are rare indeed. Thinking myself over, It is about the only one that falls into a polar end that i can think of.

An example of a gray area flaw is that I am a "grin and bear it" kind of guy. When I get into trouble I am more likely to sit and take whats coming to me than to contest it or apologize. It is gray because some would appreciate that i don't try to squirm out, But others would hate that I don't apologize.

Another example is that I constantly joke. I am like a freaking episode of family guy sometimes; Even on a serious subject I will try to get a laugh if i can. (You know, for some reason I can't think of a joke right now)
This would be annoying to some people, since it seems that I can't take things seriously, While others would enjoy the humor.

But not all flaws and strengths have to be characteral. (ITS A WORD NOW, SO I SAY)

Continuing with using myself as an example, I heal fast. I have cut myself to the bone and have the hole healed in a couple of days without stitches. Not a thing about my character, but my physical self.
I am also asthmatic, which is a negative. (Although logically it has to be a strength somehow or another, otherwise it would have been culled by evolution)

Now moving onto one of the characters on the list of yours I'm going to use Dumbledor. (I may have misspelled this, but its two in the morning) Dumbledor has flaws and strengths too. His wisdom and patience are definitely a strength, While his belief that he can protect Harry, and therefore doesn't need to hand over all the information he can is a weakness.

And not everything is classifiable into a strength or weakness.
Take my character Nivarion for example. (yes, i use his name as my screen name) He is a giant, Massively strong and tough. Not only that he is a great elven giant, and my great elves are bigger than humans anyway. Being a little shy of twice as tall as the average human means that human buildings, vehicles, vessels, weapons and armors are not available to him. When he starts dealing with humans the door frame is his eternal enemy as he constantly fails to duck enough. He can't climb trees or walk on thinner ice.
So his giantnesnesss is an example of a trait that is a strength and a weakness.

I hope I wrote something useful here, I'm sort of tired and wired at the same time.

aadams73
03-28-2009, 01:42 PM
of course I have a family.

Dad works in a store, getting up early in the morning at about 6:00 and goes to bed before 9:00 at night. He's a workaholic who works even on the holidays, even on the birthdays of his two granddaughters.

Mom also works in the store and has a successful costume rental business (she sewed all of them, and is making more still). She cooks for us, yet for herself, she makes dishes that dad and I call strange. According to her, she doesn't even eat "regular food anymore".

Mom and dad don't even celebrate anniversaries anymore. For years, they've slept in separate bedrooms. I often hear them argue about the store, customers, and other things. I don't even hear them say "I love you" to each other anymore. They never have any time together to themselves. I doubt that will change when I move out soon.

My middle sister Amy is married and has two little girls. I don't know much about her.

My youngest but still older sister Becky will soon be celebrating her first anniversary with her husband, a man from Romania. They both work on a cruise ship.

My oldest sister Sheila lives in the city and has a successful career, but what profession I do not know. She has a cat, she used to have a dog, but had to put it to sleep last year because his broken leg wasn't getting better. She'll be buying a new house soon.

My younger brother Jeff is more successful than I am in all fields. He has his own place here in town and is popular with girls. According to what he says, he's smarter, better looking, stronger, and a better person. In all, he's such a jerk to me. He's been picking on me even before I was diagnosed with Asperger's.

My only friend who lives nearby, Krista, recently moved to the city. She's never known her father and was always getting into arguements with her mother, even hitting her. She has a boyfriend who is twice her age! I'm the only friend her age she has.

Other than all this stuff I've written down, I don't know much about my family or friends. Yet they are real people. So how do I make my characters real without focusing on good or bad traits?

You know what you've done here Dwayne? You've made me seriously curious about all these people. With just a few simple sentences you've made me want to know more about them and their lives. Now go and apply THAT to your fiction.

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 07:13 PM
You know what you've done here Dwayne? You've made me seriously curious about all these people. With just a few simple sentence you've made me want to know more about them and their lives. Now go and apply THAT to your fiction.

What she said.

So, go and write about your dad. How his workaholism affects your life. Why don't you know more about him? Is he quiet, withdrawn, a man of few words? Etc. etc. All of that are "real" and makes me want to know more about the guy and how his actions or emotions (or lack of) affected his family. Some may see the workaholism as a flaw, and some may simply see it as a trait, or even a good thing ("he's so dedicated to what he does"). "Flaws," by nature, is a judgment and it differs from one person to another.

So instead of focusing on what are flaws and how many should a characters have, focus on their real traits and the reaction they get and the effects they have on others.

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 07:22 PM
I did, and yet I'm constantly told they're not realistic.

I can't make anyone see the characters the way I do, as many have constantly told me, which I wasn't trying to do in the first place. All I've wanted are stories that are of the highest possible quality I can achieve.

If you're trying to write about real people, but your readers tell you they are not realistic, perhaps it's all in the execution. Have you asked your readers why, exactly, are those characters unrealistic? Ask them for specific moments/traits/scenes or whatever where your readers think, "I don't believe this."

Perhaps your problem is exactly the opposite of what you perceive. Perhaps you do write real people, but maybe you focus too much on the drama or the actions and the reactions... that's how melodrama comes about sometimes, when we emphasize and exaggerate the emotions and the "bigger-than-life" drama and forget that most "real" people are not bigger than life. They're subtle. They just do their own thing, most of the time, without thinking about "do I have any flaws?"

Sometimes, it's in the dialogue. Many writers write unrealistic dialogue -- stilted, stiff, melodramatic, drawn out, etc. that is not how real people talk. So even if you have realistic characters, your dialogue may have failed them.

To me, it seems like your problem isn't whether you have characters who are three-dimensional and real, but how you write them to convey that. But not having read your work, I can't know for sure.

I find this very interesting:


I can't make anyone see the characters the way I do

It seems to me that you want to MAKE your character certain way, but your readers perceive the readers differently. But that's the thing, you shouldn't have to MAKE your readers see it your way. To write great characters, you need to let the characters be. Like Dwayne did in the post above, just a few sentences describing how his family really is -- without embellishment, without high drama, without trying to "make us" see it his way -- by simply giving us a few FACTS -- he created "real" characters that make us want to know them. What drives a man to work so much that he even misses his daughters' birthdays? And how does that affect the daughters? None of that has to be melodramatic or even dramatic, and you don't even have to explain their behaviors -- just the facts and the effects they have -- but they're REALISTIC.

ad_lucem
03-28-2009, 08:05 PM
Often I have a hard time detecting character flaws and traits whenever I'm reading. Although I've only begun to understand how characters work, I'm still struggling with detecting strengths, flaws, positive and negative traits.. For some characters and minor characters, I can't find any flaws or negative traits.

Can someone help? Has this happened to anyone else here?

You might take a look at some psych texts. I keep my social psych, physiological psych, and sensation/perception book nearby. I also have some books on developmental psych--particularly a lifetime development book. These books give you a feel for the way people's lives tend to play out (of course, stats only give you a general idea of what the average reaction would be--it doesn't cover the outliers).

You can probably find some books like this at your local used book seller.


....you might also check out some things on Applied Behavior Analysis.

Reading them cover to cover might put you to sleep, but I use them as a reference to look up things from time to time.

Hope that helps!! :)

DwayneA
03-28-2009, 09:01 PM
could you reccomend some good books on the subject?

ad_lucem
03-29-2009, 12:22 AM
Honestly, what I have on hand are left over from college coursework. Translation: I was forced to buy them. Now, since I poured so much money into the whole experience, and loaded myself with debt, I'm trying to recoup some expenses by finding a practical use for the things that go beyond the standard doorstop or coffee coaster.


In your case I would look around and maybe ask questions of a local college university. Or, search the net for relatively recent used texts. Your local librarian might have some thoughts as well. :)

In terms of crime/juvenile delinquency, I've often heard the books by Glueck are good--even though they are old--because they were based on longitudinal studies.

I would also recommend Erik Erickson's Identity and the Life Cycle.

Philosophy also makes a good place to stop off for information about character/character flaws:

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Philosophy-Opinions-Greatest-Philosophers/dp/0671739166

C.J. Rockwell
03-29-2009, 04:09 AM
If you're trying to write about real people, but your readers tell you they are not realistic, perhaps it's all in the execution. Have you asked your readers why, exactly, are those characters unrealistic? Ask them for specific moments/traits/scenes or whatever where your readers think, "I don't believe this."

I have done that, but I know I should do it more and be more specific. But I'm afraid to ask certain specifics simply because they may want me to do certain things with the characters that either-

1. I just DON'T want to do, and I don't mean it in a jerky egomaniac kind of way, plesae believe me. Please!:Soapbox:

2. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO IT in a quality way.

3. I just don't agree, and I mean that in both an assertive and constructive way.

4. It becomes something everyone loves but ME!

I may not always follow it (Even when I TRY and fail) but I DO listen to the advice I get, even if it initially rubs me the wrong way.

The problem I've had is not letting the advice make me paranoid, which has happened in the five year edit-a-thon that is my MG novel, Gabriel.

It's also why I haven't looked at or touched Gabriel since December 2008.


Perhaps your problem is exactly the opposite of what you perceive. Perhaps you do write real people, but maybe you focus too much on the drama or the actions and the reactions... that's how melodrama comes about sometimes, when we emphasize and exaggerate the emotions and the "bigger-than-life" drama and forget that most "real" people are not bigger than life. They're subtle. They just do their own thing, most of the time, without thinking about "do I have any flaws?"

.....Then why have my attempts at being subtle always result in comments like, "Not enough EMOTION, MOTIVATION, etc."

Plus, if you check out the Writers on Writing interview with literary agent Albert Zuckerman (http://www.barbarademarcobarrett.com/writersonwriting/audio/Al-Zuckerman_May-30-2002.mp3), near the end of it he talks about how the "blockbuster" novels that really stand the test of time thrive on "Larger than Life" characters.

So, what's up?!:poke:

Plus, for better or worse, once you go from being just a reader, to a serious, devoted writer who wants to get published someday, you sometimes can't help or completely avoid thinking about certain story mechanics that as a reader you don't (Always) get hung up on.


Sometimes, it's in the dialogue. Many writers write unrealistic dialogue -- stilted, stiff, melodramatic, drawn out, etc. that is not how real people talk. So even if you have realistic characters, your dialogue may have failed them.

In the beginning that was definitely a problem. I do hope that now it's BETTER, especially after editing!


To me, it seems like your problem isn't whether you have characters who are three-dimensional and real, but how you write them to convey that.

I agree, and that's why I'm both frustrated with and blessed that there's always room for improvement.



It seems to me that you want to MAKE your character certain way, but your readers perceive the readers differently. But that's the thing, you shouldn't have to MAKE your readers see it your way. To write great characters, you need to let the characters be. Like Dwayne did in the post above, just a few sentences describing how his family really is -- without embellishment, without high drama, without trying to "make us" see it his way -- by simply giving us a few FACTS -- he created "real" characters that make us want to know them.

My point was that I WASN'T trying to make readers see the characters as I do, I was LETTING them be.

But despite that, the feeback I get seems to feel like unless I do something I DETEST, my characters will never be REAL and relateable.

It would be like Micheal Connelly's Harry Bosch swapped bodies "Freaky Friday" style with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum.

Aside from the gender awkwardness, and that their both crime fiction series, as characters the worlds they know and live are different, not to mention their personalities.



What drives a man to work so much that he even misses his daughters' birthdays? And how does that affect the daughters? None of that has to be melodramatic or even dramatic, and you don't even have to explain their behaviors -- just the facts and the effects they have -- but they're REALISTIC.


You must have vastly different readers look at your work than I do. Believe me, when I don't give some explinations for what my characters do, I get some form of backlash.

maestrowork
03-29-2009, 04:12 AM
Maybe you need new beta readers. :)


I hate it when the authors try to explain everything. Why is the character angry? Because... blah blah blah. Hey, I'm intelligent, I can figure it out! And if I can't, I'll just accept that fact and move on. Like in real life, I don't always (actually, I seldom) know the motivation behind people's behaviors. That's why it's so fun to watch people -- because you don't always understand them.

That said, if your character's emotions and actions do not match the expectations of the situations, then you will need to have a bit more for the readers to chew on -- motivations, backgrounds, psychology, etc. The more you deviate from the norm, the more you need.

For example, if the little girl doesn't cry at her father's funeral -- that's not normal. That's unexpected. If you don't have any explanation at all for the readers to understand why she didn't cry, then she becomes "unrealistic." The behavior doesn't match the expectations without any kind of background information to support that discrepancy.

Now, if we find out that she was abused as a child and her father has never been there for her, etc. etc. Then suddenly her character makes sense, and she becomes realistic under those circumstances.

So, as a writer, you need to know what background information is necessary to convey to your readers why your characters act a certain way. And then there are times when backgrounds are not necessary or at least do not need to be explained explicitly because the information is already there, or your readers should be able to read between the lines.

Some readers are rather lazy and they need the writer to tell them everything so they don't have to think. But I trust that most readers have the intelligence and patience to figure things out. However, like I said, if you have behaviors that don't match the expectation, you will need to give your readers something more to chew on...

C.J. Rockwell
03-29-2009, 04:15 AM
Maybe you need new beta readers. :)

It's not that I completely disagree, but come on, can't I just catch a break?

Also, I only just posted it, did you read it all that fast?

C.J. Rockwell
03-29-2009, 04:36 AM
I hate it when the authors try to explain everything. Why is the character angry? Because... blah blah blah. Hey, I'm intelligent, I can figure it out! And if I can't, I'll just accept that fact and move on. Like in real life, I don't always (actually, I seldom) know the motivation behind people's behaviors. That's why it's so fun to watch people -- because you don't always understand them.

Why haven't I found readers like that?:cry:


That said, if your character's emotions and actions do not match the expectations of the situations, then you will need to have a bit more for the readers to chew on -- motivations, backgrounds, psychology, etc. The more you deviate from the norm, the more you need.

True. So either my current readers don't "get it" or I'm still not doing enough. I think it's both.



Some readers are rather lazy and they need the writer to tell them everything so they don't have to think.

I think there are more readers like that than I first thought. A both sad and scary thought.

Yakamo
03-30-2009, 10:38 PM
Is this kid asking for attention? Why can't you freaking use google?

This guys doesn't want answers, he wants a big mac.

http://threes.com/cms/images/stories/food/big-mac-extra-value-meal.jpg

DeleyanLee
03-30-2009, 10:44 PM
Character flaws--that which explains why a character makes wrong/bad choices in the course of the story and allows them to complicate the story/fail.

Character strength--that which explains why a character makes the right/good choices in the course of the story and allows them to succeed.

It really is that simple.

C.J. Rockwell
03-31-2009, 12:07 AM
Is this kid asking for attention? Why can't you freaking use google?

This guys doesn't want answers, he wants a big mac

Nothing can be learned through Google alone.

I DON'T want a Big Mac, I can make my own burgers at home.

And you know what else? You don't have to be a baby or a self-absorbed brat, neither of which I am, to want a little attention. Especially when you feel like a stranger in your own home!

I know what you could use right now, a few good spoonfuls of Cod Liver Oil, catch my drift?

DwayneA
03-31-2009, 07:12 PM
I am not seeking attention. I just want answers to my questions. That's what this forum is for.

Dale Emery
04-01-2009, 12:00 AM
What kinds of flaws are there?

What bugs you about people you know or people you have heard about? If you use those things as flaws, you'll have some passion about them.

Dale

C.J. Rockwell
04-01-2009, 08:39 AM
Character flaws--that which explains why a character makes wrong/bad choices in the course of the story and allows them to complicate the story/fail.

Character strength--that which explains why a character makes the right/good choices in the course of the story and allows them to succeed.

It really is that simple.

Then why aren't readers more straightforward? At least the readers who also write.

Just because it's "simple" doesn't mean it's easy.

Why else do you think children's picture books are the hardest form to write, and write well?

C.J. Rockwell
04-01-2009, 08:43 AM
I am not seeking attention. I just want answers to my questions. That's what this forum is for.

Ditto!

I understand the frustration, it's obvious the smart alecks on here don't get that.

DwayneA
04-01-2009, 07:25 PM
I heard that people are mentioning some "Troll" on the chatlines here. Yakamo sent me a private message saying that person is me. Is that really how people here perceive me? That's a very unfair judgement because it's not true!

Look, I'm here for the exact same reason everyone else joined the forum. Everyone here asks questions and seeking advice to improve as a writer. Who else is better to learn about writing than from writers themselves? I want to improve and be a better writer. The answers to my questions don't benefit just me, they help others.

Besides, it's not my fault I have difficulty understanding certain things. That's my major flaw as a person. I couldn't even tie my own shoes until I was 12!

CaroGirl
04-01-2009, 07:29 PM
I couldn't even tie my own shoes until I was 12!
So, could you tie anyone else's shoes before you were 12? Ba-DUM-bum.

I think you're harmless. Don't worry about it. Ask what you think you need to ask. Try not to go in circles and try to incorporate and build on what you learn so you don't have to go back to the basics with every question. Just write.

DwayneA
04-01-2009, 07:36 PM
Why would I tie someone else's shoe? When I asked a teacher to tie my shoelaces, he tied them to the legs of my chair. That was embarrassing when I fell out of my seat and struggled to get back in my chair.

C.J. Rockwell
04-01-2009, 07:44 PM
Why would I tie someone else's shoe? When I asked a teacher to tie my shoelaces, he tied them to the legs of my chair. That was embarrassing when I fell out of my seat and struggled to get back in my chair.
What kind of sick joke was that? :Soapbox:

And from a teacher no less.

Exir
04-01-2009, 07:54 PM
A good example of Flaws/Traits is from my bestselling book, Twilight, where there is none.

CaroGirl
04-01-2009, 07:57 PM
Why would I tie someone else's shoe? When I asked a teacher to tie my shoelaces, he tied them to the legs of my chair. That was embarrassing when I fell out of my seat and struggled to get back in my chair.
Well, that's a sick and stupid joke.

My point was that to say "my own" is redundant. I was being a grammar Nazi. Like saying, "he choked on his own vomit." I mean, who else's vomit would you choke on? You could simply say, "I couldn't tie shoes until I was 12." You don't need to say they were your own shoes.

Exir
04-01-2009, 08:01 PM
DwayneA: It's perfectly alright for you to ask all these questions. Really. We're all learning!

Dale Emery
04-01-2009, 08:01 PM
Like saying, "he choked on his own vomit." I mean, who else's vomit would you choke on?

Hmmm. This gives me a story idea...

CaroGirl
04-01-2009, 08:03 PM
Hmmm. This gives me a story idea...
Go for it. You can pay me my 50 per cent cut of the profits when you're rich and famous.

DwayneA
04-01-2009, 08:12 PM
You know, I feel much better now that I know I'm not hated here. Thank you for clearing things up!

By the way Exir, are you really Stephanie Meyers or just someone pretending to be someone she's not?

blueobsidian
04-02-2009, 12:24 AM
I heard that people are mentioning some "Troll" on the chatlines here. Yakamo sent me a private message saying that person is me. Is that really how people here perceive me? That's a very unfair judgement because it's not true!


Yakamo has posted three times -- two of them were rude and the third endorsed lying. I wouldn't worry about that opinion at ALL.

DwayneA
04-02-2009, 12:41 AM
I've been called a lot of things in my life: geek, loser, stupid, retard, brainless dope, handicapped kid. Is it any wonder why I'm so sensitive about what people say about me behind my back?

Nice to know some people aren't all that mean! Thanks blueobsidian!

Exir
04-02-2009, 04:41 AM
By the way Exir, are you really Stephanie Meyers or just someone pretending to be someone she's not?

DwayneA: Check out the date today!

DwayneA
04-02-2009, 05:46 AM
Joke's on me I guess. Well, it said "Stephanie Meyers" under your pen name. Can I be blamed if it fooled me?

backslashbaby
04-02-2009, 06:54 AM
(I have the most amazing friend from my class at Oxford with Asberger's :) Highest IQ I've ever met in my life, and a sweetie.)

I'm reading my first batch ever of How to Write type books, and I'll mention it if I find one that has a great section on characterization.

I model many characters on someone I've known in my life, if their general bag of quirks and talents fits what I need for the character. Some are too interesting to not write about, but it also makes characterization easier ;)

Exir
04-02-2009, 09:37 AM
Dwayne: It's all meant in good spirit you know ;)

DwayneA
04-02-2009, 07:36 PM
It's Asperger's

Send me a message when you do find a book on the subject.