F is for Flaws
My theme for the A to Z challenge this year is Storytelling. I'll be writing posts on what I think you need to create a good story; the posts will vary from basics that all writers use in their stories, to themes/tropes that I love to see in stories that I read, and that I use when I write.
F is for Flaws
I think it's hugely important to give all of your characters flaws; it helps the reader to relate to them, and therefore care about them more.
Think about it; nobody is perfect. Everybody has personality traits, fears and habits that hold them back, and your characters are no different. Who wants to read a book about someone who does the right thing all the time, with no consequences for their actions? That would be boring, and really unrealistic.
Your character's flaws should prevent them from reaching their goal; this creates an internal conflict for the character. They are basically stopping themselves from getting what they want. It also creates tension in your story; will they ever overcome their flaw? Will it cause problems for them?
For example, the protagonist in my novel has a hard time trusting people, and because of this he refuses to accept help from people, instead preferring to do things alone. This puts him in situations where he is in a position to be bested by the enemy, purely because he wouldn't trust the people that could have helped him.
By the end of your novel, your character should have either overcome their flaw, or at least tried to. They need to show character growth in some way. My protagonist, for example, isn't going to overcome his trust issues straight away, as they're very deeply ingrained in him. He is, however, aware of how his trust issues cause problems for him, so he visibly tries to put his trust in people throughout the course of the story. You can see that he has changed from the character at the beginning who wouldn't trust anyone, to a character who is aware that he has trust issues and is trying to overcome them, by (reluctantly) putting his trust in people.