I’ve already mentioned a few times about character flaws. So, if you are confused on what a character flaw is: in the most basic terms a character flaw is a character (main character and/or others) in the novel to have something that is unique to them such as a physical features or a personality traits. It doesn’t necessary have to be a negative flaw, but can be positive. Having a flaw makes the character human – relatable.
For example in the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter – glasses, messy hair, green eyes, scar, hero complex and his temper. Ron Weasley – sixth son, red hair, freckles, poor-ish upbringing and then jealousy being his biggest negative flaw. Hermione Granger – bushy hair, big front teeth, bookish and her loyalty.
As you can see that several of these above are not negative. But each play a major part in the series, even to the point that it brings conflicts between the characters several different times.
Your character flaw can even be something VERY unique to one specific character. For example: Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. He has a certain spot he always sits and he knocks three times before going into other peoples apartments/offices. The show’s writers have developed this that it’s not annoying to the audience, but it’s funny each time. You can do that in your book. Find a flaw and twist it so that it is fun to write about.
In Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tokien, I truly believe he wrote one of the best supporting characters with conflicting personalities – Gollum/Sméagol. He is an innocent creature that had been corrupted by the ring of power, causing him to develop the Gollum identity. As the reader, you can understand each of his actions and see the conflict the character does. We sympathize with him. He does wants to do what is right when he’s Sméagol like helping Fredo and Samwise as they travel through the mountains then across the marshes, and up the stairs. Even when trying to hide them from the Ringwraiths at Minas Morgul. But that corruption is too deep and he plots openly on trying to get back the ring. He uses Shelob to try, but fails. He does finally achieve in getting the ring but causes his own death at the same time. You almost want to mourn his lost because there was a ‘what could have been’ opening for him.
Tip: Like Sméagol – make your villain and sub characters relatable too. People are complex creatures, so show that. Give your characters layers. Most forget the villian – he’s just the bad guy, so he’s always evil. However, give him a reason for why he’s evil: bad upbring, a missed chance on love, a close friend/family death. Give them human emotions too.
Here’s some links on flaws:
123 Negative Flaws
Negative Flaws can Derail Good People
Advance Writing Character Flaws
Writing the Perfect Flaw
L. R. Mauck