It is in my nature to see everything in black and white. Right and wrong. Good and evil. This is why I love math so much. There are rules. If I follow the rules, everything turns out exactly the way it’s supposed to. No questions.
on the other hand, is definitely not black and white. Lots of wiggle room. Oddly
enough, I think this might be why I enjoy writing. It forces me out of my
comfort zone. And maybe I like to be a rebel sometimes. ;)
within my writing, I struggle to write characters who aren’t black and white.
My protags are always a little too goody two shoes and my villains are always
too evil. In the rational part of my brain (which is a very small part of my
brain) I know that normal people live gray lives. No one is utterly perfect or
totally evil, but that usually doesn’t carry over into my writing, at least not
in the first draft. It’s something I have to fix during revisions, but it never
feels as organic as it should be without a lot of rewriting.
in my current WIP, in addition to the main character’s major flaws that help to
drive the plot, I’ve been trying to incorporate lots of tiny flaws that
contribute to the plot in more subtle ways. She picks fights with her brother
about stupid things. She treats other people like crap because she’s insecure
about herself. She lies to her mom even though she has an okay relationship
with her. And she just generally makes bad decisions.
strange happened, though. Somehow, her biggest flaw has evolved into her seeing
the world and the people within it as black and white. Full circle moment,
people. ;) It’s a major flaw because she was raised with a pretty skewed view
of the world, so her black is closer to a “normal” white and vice versa. This
has also evolved into the main thing she has to overcome to complete the main
emotional arc of the story. Something I wished I’d known at the beginning, btw,
so I wouldn’t have to go back and tweak. Just one of the many perks of being a
the point is that just adding those little flaws has rounded out her character
so much and helped me to see her clearer. It’s also brought to light a few
subplots I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Now, if I could just figure out the
ending, maybe I could finish this beast. ;)
about you? How do you put your characters solidly in the gray? Any tips for
creating the perfectly imperfect character?