Create Diversity Tip Eight: It’s okay to give your characters flaws
Sometimes to prove that we aren’t prejudices we will make perfect minority characters. Perfect characters are boring! It is our job as writers to torment our characters. I do not mean having your black female in a tizzy over going to Yale or Harvard and her loving supportive Leave it to Beaver parents smiling in the background.
I’m not saying your black woman can’t go to those schools, because of course they do, but give them some real issues to deal with. It’s even okay to give real life issues. As I’ve mentioned before Native American’s have a problem with diabetes. This is a fact. Not all NA have diabetes, but it is a concern among many. So add it to your story. It doesn’t have to be a big issue, maybe they are careful with what they eat, or maybe it is a huge issue for them and a driving plot in your book. It’s your choice.
We all have problems to deal with: money, health, education, drugs, alcohol, gangs, etc. We all worry. We all encounter different things in our lives. Your characters need to have some of these same experiences.
Jewish people are often encouraged/pressured to marry someone of their religion (as are many from devout religious families). Not all Jewish people face this issue, but it doesn’t mean you’re stereotyping to make it an issue your character has to deal with.
Let go of being PC and create well rounded, interesting character that you torture.
To mark the end of my tips for creating diversity I give you the Wicked Boy Ballet Company, they are dancing to Smells Like Teen Spirit preformed by Scala. I think it’s a great example of creating diversity.
Great post. Characters should be like people and have flaws for sure. Perfect characters don’t need to change who they are.
It’s true flawed characters are interesting and we can take them places in our work. Thanks Asrai
So true, Alica. Characters’ flaws help make them believable, relatable and more enjoyable to read and write about. Terrific illustrations of diversity!
Thank you August, I had a lot of fun surfing the web for them 🙂 Flaws do make characters interesting and gives us a way to torture them. 🙂
What a beautiful dance and I really loved the song. Thank you for the tip about making your characters have flaws – like all real people. Sometimes I forget and my characters seem too cookie cutter and boring. They’re way more fun if they’re “real”.
Patti I do the same thing! I always have to go back and make them physically and emotionall impoerfect. Cause you know it’s fun to day dream about perfect god like men surrounding you LOL!
Nice post. One thing for people to remember is that some problems are common to all people. Sometimes it adds value even if the writer knows what their issues are, without writing them explicitly. It will sometimes color their action and dialogue in ways that make the reader wonder where they are coming from.
Bill I have a eight page charcter bio I do that has all sorts of info that never shows up in my book, but I know about and it helps me create richer characters.
I love characters who grow throughout a book. It makes me feel inspired that if they can overcome flaws, then I can overcome mine.
Yes, I agree I love feeling inspired by books 🙂 Thanks Angela