Monday, August 8, 2011

Rose Colored Glasses

I have a tendency to look at my characters in a not-quite-fully-dimensional light.

Since I'm the one writing them, it's easy for bits and pieces of myself to end up in their character qualities. My interests start to become their interests. My thoughts, prayers, etc. become their thoughts, prayers and etc.

But sometimes, my faults tend to not end up on the page. And I end up with "perfect" characters who never make any mistakes.

I know we've all read novels where the main character is sickeningly perfect. She never has a bad thought about anyone. She never messes up. She never makes any kind of mistakes and she never uses contractions when she speaks.

I have nothing in common with this character.

And, I might go out on a limb and say that most readers have nothing in common with her either.

Look at your current WIP. Does your character make mistakes? Does he/she have to work hard at something? Does he/she have a fault that no matter how much she prays about it, she still can't move past it?

These are the characters that will resonate with readers! The ones who feel so real and so human that they might walk off the pages and sit across from you in your favorite coffee shop. Read back through your novel and ask yourself, "Would I have done that in that situation?"


  1. Great post! I think this is especially important when writing for the CBA because so many readers have said that they shy away from Christian fiction because they can't relate to the perfection. That's obviously a misconception of our faith! We're not perfect, we're forgiven. So go ahead. Have you character stub a toe and bite back a colored word ;)

  2. I just read a book that fits with this description... at least in parts. I want to test and see if the main character has a soul! I think this is great advice, Erynn. Fiction is such a different animal from what I write, but I love learning about it.

  3. Love this post! I think it's sooo important to have three-dimensional, flawed characters. It's tempting to love your protagonists to death and forget this, but really, giving them imperfections is the best thing you can do for your readers.

  4. I just happen to stumble across your blog and loved what you had to say about imperfections. I will say though even as a Christian I have a hard time writing about my faith or using my faith in my works. I wonder why that is? Any way I loved how you wrote about having characters with imperfections I love imperfect characters because no on is perfect and its hard to relate to a person like that. I like writing about characters who I could see as my best friend.