WP #180 - Add Depth to Your Characters: Embracing Flaws and Scars

Published 3 months ago • 1 min read

Dear Reader,

Inspiration comes from strange places sometimes, and the idea for today's Tips came from a Thread post about kintsugi.

"Kintsugi literally means ‘joining together with gold’. The philosophy behind this practice is that breakage and repair are important parts of an object's story, rather than something to be hidden.⁠⁠" —Dr. Mohammad Firoz Khan (archaeohistories on Threads)

Dr. Khan's post reminded of how Mary Sue characters hurt our books because perfect characters are boring and ultimately uninspiring.

Flawed characters who overcome their flaws, scars, and weaknesses are the kind of heroes and heroines we can root for and remember long after the story ends. See the story below.

Add Depth to Your Fictional Characters: Embracing Flaws and Scars

One of my lead characters has a problem. I mean, he used to have a problem.

He was too perfect. He was a Mary Sue, the kind of leading man you instantly fall in love with. Yes, I wanted my readers to fall in love with him, but his superhuman perfection should have been a clue that he needed cracks and broken places to be repaired, scars to make him more beautiful and interesting.

Add depth to your fictional characters.

I went to work on my protagonist and gifted him with some emotional baggage. He became more relatable, and the story improved too. Add depth to your fictional characters using flaws and scars.

Read the full post and take the quick character assessment here.

This week's question is: Reflect on your current work in progress or a recent story you've written. Take a moment to identify one area where you can deepen a character's flaws or introduce a meaningful scar to enhance their journey. Please share.

Reply to ​kmckee@writingpursuits.com​. I look forward to your answers. Today's quote is:

“Many people fail not so much because of their mistakes; they fail because they are afraid to try.”
― George Foreman,
Knockout Entrepreneur

The repository for past newsletters is here: https://tips.writingpursuits.com/profile

Thanks for reading this week's tips.
Keep writing!

Kathrese McKee
Owner, Writing Pursuits LLC

P.S. - Request a free 15-minute consultation. I'm here to help!

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Kathrese McKee helps authors write great stories; she hosts the Writing Pursuits podcast, teaches workshops about writing craft topics, and writes speculative fiction books, short stories, and flash fiction. Kathrese has edited fiction professionally since 2014. Learn more about her books and services at WritingPursuits.com.

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