Thursday, March 25, 2010

One man's flaw is another man's vice . . .apparently

I've been purposefully not posting about writing. I was hoping to have a book out by now and thereby have more gravitas on the subject. However . . .

The insistence of having flawed characters has either been mis-interpreted or incorrectly taught. At least in my opinion. It seems that many translate having a flawed character as having a character with a vice. Why can't novels have a really good person as the lead character? Some say it's unrealistic. Hogwash. I've known some wonderful people in my life and I love reading about good people. They hardly ever come out on top in real life. At least they can prevail in fiction. It may be the only thing keeping me sane. They definitely don't make a novel less appealing. Dean Koontz's stories are filled with good, decent protags and I'm pretty sure he's sells a few books.

I think this idea needs to be tweeked. It's not a flawless character you should avoid. It's an invincible one. Kryptonite is not superman's flaw, it's his vulnerability. Good, moral, decent characters with vulnerabilities are my favorite. They play by the rules and the antags don't. So your lead character's flaw (vulnerability) could be that he's too trusting for instance. Antags can take advantage of that. We want to read about characters who follow their morals, play by the golden rule and still beat the bad guy.

With that said, sometimes an invincible character works. See James Bond, Jason Bourne, Rambo. But I think it's for the same reason. Readers (viewers) want to see the good guy triumph in a world where they usually don't.


Nicole said...

Good points, Dayle.

I've written both "good" guys with vulnerabilities and guys who struggle but have decent inclinations. And I've written ugly guys who serve as antagonists or depict those selfish, ego-centric people who live for themselves.

It's very difficult for me to read about protags (male or female) who carry a self-absorbed attitude and lifestyle well into the story. Doesn't work for me. Usually by the time anything redemptive happens in their lives, frankly I no longer care about them.

My current secular favorite (as you know) is Mitch Rapp. And then you saw my list of "good" protags from CBA fiction. Next week I think I'll list my novel protags.

GusF_Finkbeiner1209 said...


Adam said...

I saw your post on another page, and I am interested in an extra Bible you spoke about. I have a friend that wants a Jimmy Swaggart Bible (as long as it's not large print), so perhaps you could give it away or sell it with good conscience. You could email me at

Blessings, Adam