Do your characters have issues?

03 Oct

It’s human nature to have issues. It’s part of what makes us human.

Incidents happen in our childhood that we carry with us. It could be something as simple as your mother smoothing your eyebrows every morning to make certain you look “perfect”. Or it could be something more intense like your family surviving a house fire with nothing but the clothes on your backs.

As an adult, maybe each morning you stare into the mirror trying to find anything out of place. Maybe everything has to be “just so” in your house. Maybe you can’t stand flames as a result of the childhood trauma. Candles are absolutely forbidden.

Through the years other events/people/traumas happen that also help shape the people we are today. It’s what makes us each so unique and intriguing.

And it is so important in our writing when we are creating our characters. To add that third and fourth dimension to them.To make them as unique as we are and to allow our readers to relate to our characters.

Some of my favorite characters from movies and books have absolutely crazy issues. I love the sharks from “Finding Nemo” who are in a self help group to keep them from eating other fish. Sookie Stackhouse from the novels by Charlaine Harris can read minds which has always set her apart from both the human and the non-human characters. Indiana Jones had a whole host of issues from commitment to an intense dislike of snakes.

These are the things that draw us to these characters. The things that keep us buying the next book in the series and adding the movie to our home collection. The characters aren’t perfect. They are human and they are flawed and we love them and cheer them on.

Do you have any favorite characters? What issues do your characters have?



Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Idaho


Tags: , , ,

6 responses to “Do your characters have issues?

  1. Janis McCurry

    October 3, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    I find I group issues with gender (not sure that’s a good thing). My heroes usually have issues dealing with something that happened they couldn’t “fix.” You know how men are. 😉 Guilt from failing to prevent something and then the need to atone for it.

    My heroine’s usually have issues directly relating to something more internal, as in not smart enough, not brave enough, not outgoing enough. They go through a transformation before deciding they are “enough.”

  2. maryvine

    October 3, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Your blog post is good timing for me as I am reshaping the heroine in an early manuscript I’d written. I want her to have strengths but I want her to have a few quirky things, too. Got me thinking. Thanks!

  3. Marsha R. West

    October 4, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Thanks for this reminder, Meredith. It’s not a strength of mine. I focus on heroines being strong without the counter-balance of weakness. I recently went back (like Mary mentioned above) to add in snippets for the heroine about needing to be appropriate at all times–a trait she developed because–of course–her mother expected her to act that way. LOL Poor moms, we get to blame so much on them.

  4. Clarissa Southwick

    October 4, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    One of my favorite characters right now is the young Sherlock Holmes in the current BBC version. He is socially awkward, horribly arrogant, and acts like a spoiled brat whenever he’s bored or his brother comes on the scene. (Obviously, there’s a lot of backstory there we don’t know about.) Yet, he can also be terribly sweet and surprisingly naive/innocent. Having so many layers to his personality makes him fascinating.

  5. Peggy Staggs

    October 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I agree. I love those flaws that show up the contradictions in life. Indie who wasn’t afraid to plunge head-long into a tomb full of nasty rotting thingies, but send in a little snake and he’s climbing on a chair. It’s the layers that add the interest.

  6. Liz Fredericks

    October 5, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Love issues! And the sharks are my favorites . . . then there’s Dori.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: