Character weakness adds interest: 8 easy choices for character development

 

When characters have weaknesses they are more interesting.  Will the protagonist succumb to his desire for alcohol?

 

When you are developing characters for a story make certain you assign at least one weakness to your central characters.

Rather than read Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV to sort through what might be wrong, start with simpler sort.

In the Fourth Century an educated monk, Evagrius, wanted to help those who wished to avoid personal disasters.  He came up with a list of eight evil thoughts or temptations from which all wrong behavior springs.  The list was intended to serve a diagnostic purpose: to help readers indentify the process of temptation, their own strengths and weaknesses, and the remedies available for overcoming temptation.

 

Sound familiar?  Several centuries later Pope Gregory (The Great) redacted and codified them into the Seven Deadly Sins.

 

Without being a student of theology or church history these eight starting points are an easy way to give your characters the flaws that make them empathetic to the reader/audience.  Because they are simple and straightforward, they are easily recognizable to a broad audience.

 

You can mix and match these traits among your characters. Choosing randomly will even heighten the interest.  It will seem as though the flaw has little to do with the character.

 

Later on, in the research phase you can look up traits in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to give more detail to traits.

 

Getting started with your character development, these are great instant tools to add character complication.

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