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Post Reply When it comes to character flaws, should they be good, bad, or both?
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Posted 12/15/16 , edited 12/15/16
Should a character flaw be good, bad, or both? How do you determine which flaw is good or bad? What are some good flaws and bad flaws for a character to have? List some examples down. That is depending on the character.

What do you think?


Bonus Question:

1. Would you rather relate to a character or desire a character's traits?

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Posted 12/15/16

qualeshia3 wrote:

Should a character flaw be good, bad, or both? How do you determine which flaw is good or bad? What are some good flaws and bad flaws for a character to have? List some examples down.

What do you think?


Bonus Question:

1. Would you rather relate to a character or desire a character's traits?



depends on the character or setting. personally i can enjoy both relate-able characters and traits with desirable traits. personally though i think generally prefer characters with traits i would desire though.
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Posted 12/15/16

dragonlord1234 wrote:

depends on the character or setting. personally i can enjoy both relate-able characters and traits with desirable traits. personally though i think generally prefer characters with traits i would desire though.


Cool. I prefer either or.
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Posted 12/17/16
What is a 'good' character flaw?
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Posted 12/17/16
What is a good flaw?
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Posted 12/17/16
I'm not sure what meaning you could have for "good" and "bad" character flaws where "should a character have good or bad flaws?" is a question that makes sense to ask, so I'm going to talk about well-written character flaws -

A well-written character flaw is something that impacts their ability to achieve their goals.

A poorly-written character flaw doesn't meaningfully impact the character at all, and is just a trait the character has. Of course a character several character traits but no character flaws doesn't mean they're poorly written, it of course depends on the story and their role in it, but if you're trying to write a flaw and you write a regular character trait instead, you're not doing too good.
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Posted 12/17/16
maybe by "good" flaw it means a flaw that makes logical sense? like you can see why that character has that flaw?

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Posted 12/17/16 , edited 12/17/16
Good character flaws tend to make characters more human-like and by extension more relatable. Good flaws can also give a route for character development.

For me, personally--I tend to like characters that have flaws of being socially isolated and/or spoiled. Usually they have quite a bit of ego, can be more emotionally compromised, and typically more discrete/denying about their desire for contact/companionship. People that grow up in descriptively 'colder' environments. Examples: Sasuke, Judar, Noctis.

As one would guess, I prefer relatable characters with more flaws over characters that are on the borderline of being inhuman personality wise.


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Posted 12/17/16

gornotck wrote:

What is a 'good' character flaw?





sundin13 wrote:

What is a good flaw?



Here's something I found from TV Tropes:

So you're working on a book, and you like your hero character so far, but he's just too... clean. How can you dirty him up a bit? You need to add some character flaws. Careful, though. The right flaws will make your character more accessible to your audience and bring him to life, but the wrong flaws will make your audience despise him no matter what heroic acts he accomplishes. There are good flaws, and there are bad flaws.

A list of currently acceptable "good" flaws includes:
Alcoholism (except when it leads to violence)
Drug addiction (except when it leads to violence)
Tobacco use (cigars, cigarettes, and especially pipes)
Sexual promiscuity (Generally restricted to males though. As long as it doesn't involve children, animals or the unwilling, like rape, zoophilia or necrophilia).
Although at times, hard to tell.
Reverse snobbery
Being too cool to socialize.
Being a klutz.
"Sticking to your guns" even when the odds seem stacked against you (Which some may argue isn't even a flaw at all, except when it results in Idiot Ball)
Stupidity (as long as it stems from genuine ignorance, and not apathy or bigotry)
Misanthropy or cynicism
Emotional aloofness, especially with Cute Love Interests
Lack of self-confidence
Holding ridiculously high personal standards note , especially with snarky comments.
Being a Noble, Innocent or Tragic Bigot (Assuming they're a good guy of course), especially for people who grew up a long time ago or those with Police or Military backgrounds.
A hot temper (except when it leads to violence)
Laziness
Cussing (except in the presence of the clergy, monarchs, aristocrats, the elderly, children, and sometimes women)
Self-Deprecation
Cowardice (except when failure to act causes someone else's harm)
Weirdness and a lack of social norms, particularly in love interests
Clumsiness can be so endearing that it's often the single flaw given in an otherwise perfect character
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Posted 12/17/16
Sounds like the phrase "good flaw" just means "a flaw that is well written".

That said, I want to talk about the difference between "character flaws" and "character actions". In that list, I would consider things like "drug use" to be an action, not a flaw. Actions occur because of character traits. If you want to use something like drug use as a character flaw, you need to back it up with character traits. For example, maybe the drug use is a means of escapism or a symptom of a desire to fit in.

As for how to write flaws, I tend to try to focus on writing humans more than writing traits. Usually "good flaws" come out of that humanness which arises when the character is complete. One of my favorite writing quotes is by Jhonen Vasquez and I'm paraphrasing here but it goes something like "I haven't truly created a character until I can hold a conversation with them". I like that quote because I think it emphasizes the lack of power that the writer should have over their characters. A good writer lets their characters act without pushing them along every step of the way. Once you have a character who exists outside of your mind, I think usually theres a few flaws present.

Also worth noting, all flaws don't need to be summarized by a word or two. Sometimes its hard to describe someones flaw in a nice little neat TVtropes summary. Sometimes its just more complicated than that, and that is often a good thing, because people aren't just a string of one word characteristics. They are more complicated than that.
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Posted 12/17/16

sundin13 wrote:

Sounds like the phrase "good flaw" just means "a flaw that is well written".

That said, I want to talk about the difference between "character flaws" and "character actions". In that list, I would consider things like "drug use" to be an action, not a flaw. Actions occur because of character traits. If you want to use something like drug use as a character flaw, you need to back it up with character traits. For example, maybe the drug use is a means of escapism or a symptom of a desire to fit in.

As for how to write flaws, I tend to try to focus on writing humans more than writing traits. Usually "good flaws" come out of that humanness which arises when the character is complete. One of my favorite writing quotes is by Jhonen Vasquez and I'm paraphrasing here but it goes something like "I haven't truly created a character until I can hold a conversation with them". I like that quote because I think it emphasizes the lack of power that the writer should have over their characters. A good writer lets their characters act without pushing them along every step of the way. Once you have a character who exists outside of your mind, I think usually theres a few flaws present.

Also worth noting, all flaws don't need to be summarized by a word or two. Sometimes its hard to describe someones flaw in a nice little neat TVtropes summary. Sometimes its just more complicated than that, and that is often a good thing, because people aren't just a string of one word characteristics. They are more complicated than that.


Quick Question: Are character questionnaires good for figuring out the character's flaws?
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Posted 12/17/16 , edited 12/17/16

qualeshia3 wrote:

Quick Question: Are character questionnaires good for figuring out the character's flaws?


Could you give an example?
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Posted 12/17/16

sundin13 wrote:


qualeshia3 wrote:

Quick Question: Are character questionnaires good for figuring out the character's flaws?


Could you give an example?


Like questions that are asked that pertains to a character.

Example: What is your character's fondest childhood memory?
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Posted 12/17/16

qualeshia3 wrote:


sundin13 wrote:


qualeshia3 wrote:

Quick Question: Are character questionnaires good for figuring out the character's flaws?


Could you give an example?


Like questions that are asked that pertains to a character.

Example: What is your character's fondest childhood memory?


I think that stuff is good for getting you to think about the character beyond the story and if it helps then by all means, but I've never used something like that.
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Posted 12/17/16
Common in anime are character flash backs to help define/establish the story I kinda like that method in a short anime-12 episodes
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