I’ve recently discovered something that may be holding me back as a writer. Characters, no matter how cool and badass, can’t do everything. They don’t always achieve their goals, they don’t do everything perfectly. They make mistakes. This somewhat falls into the category of not babying your protagonist.
I’ve always known that characters need to have flaws to make them who they are. They need to make mistakes to move the story forward, and to help their development. I’ve tried to put this in all of my work. However, I don’t think I’ve done it to the best of my ability. Here’s how I usually have my characters sort out their problems:
Introduce character to problem > character contemplates solutions > character fails at one or two attempts > character succeeds.
Things just don’t always work out like that. Sometimes, people fail indefinitely, or they need help from someone or something else, or they need to grow before they can accomplish something. Sometimes, they walk into the antagonist’s trap and are swept off on aother journey. Sometimes, characters nearly escape, and then don’t. That’s what makes them 3 dimensional.
I’m sure you get my point.
I think I came to this realization while watching A Game Of Thrones. One particular character was so unlikeable because one of the other characters, (his wife), couldn’t stop him. It helped to build a dislike for the character that will make it much more satisfying when/if he is stopped in the future.
Now that I’ve realized this I think I can continue to grow as a writer. I think I will be able to add more suspence and character development to my stories, which will make them better.
Do you ever make your characters too perfect? Have you read any books with characters who seem to do no wrong? Characters who seem to be able to escape any situation?