People aren’t perfect…and neither are characters.
Growing up, I devoured the Christian romance novels by Grace Livingston Hill. She is popular with readers even today, and many of her books have been “updated” and are available in paperback. Her hero/heroine exuded perfection. The antagonist seethed evil. And, of course, in the end everyone lived happily ever after. Not for a moment would I criticize her writing, because I loved her books. Once in a while I take an afternoon to re-read one of my favorites such as The Christmas Bride or Girl from Montana.
Somehow the basic goodness of her stories inspire me to create similar characters--but with one difference: they aren’t perfect. No one is. My characters are crafted to reflect that reality. They have flaws--emotional, spiritual, and, many times, physical.
What you can see…
In fact, many of my characters struggle with physical difficulties.
· Alan Ashley (Where Is Papa’s Shining Star? Finding Papa’s Shining Star) came home from WW I without his sight.
· Danny Jefferson (Lethal Legacy in Dreamland, Desperate Deception in Dreamland, Ghostly Gambit in Dreamland) has Down Syndrome.
· Gail (The Showboat Reunion) lives with a form of ataxia (a balance issue) which requires her to use a cane.
· Drew Mallory (Ruthann’s War) has lived with a war injury for over twenty years and now faces a radical amputation which will change his life forever.
What you can’t see…
Other characters hide their less obvious emotional wounds.
· Sid Bullington (Col., USMC, ret.) (The Showboat Reunion) won’t get help for his worsening PTSD.
· Kent Goddard (Dancing with Velvet) had to give up his dream of law school due to his father’s death and let his resentment fester until it led him to a mistake that would haunt him the rest of his life.
· Sam (The Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series) has battled a lifetime desire for revenge and doesn’t even trust himself.
Why isn’t perfection the goal?
So now the question becomes WHY? Why do I write flawed characters? What is a ‘flaw’ anyway? The coveted diamond is often flawed but nonetheless prized. Diamonds, like people, have many different kinds of flaws. In fact, a flawed diamond is often more beautiful, more distinctive, and certainly unique. One can say the same about people. And certainly every character should be unique.