It’s … FLAWLESS CHARACTERS!
The flawless love interest is honestly such a pet peeve of mine. Unless you’re writing a children’s fairy tale or some kind of poetic play where the characters are allegories, ALL your characters should have flaws. Well, not *should* but it’s the first step to giving your characters some dimension so they are not just cardboard cutouts.
A great example of this is Jake from Falling for Christmas. His only vice is that he is “too good”. If Sierra’s (main character) arc is all about how she has to get over being a spoiled brat and find her own way in life, Jake’s arc is finally accepting his wife’s death. (Btw why is this like the fifth movie this year that had this exact same plot??) Having a tragic backstory (like his wife dying) is NOT a flaw. Sure it can give the character something to overcome. But it’s not a flaw. His character arc remains superficial.
I often see this occurrence: writers being afraid of giving their characters (even the main ones) any real flaws or conflating having a tragic past with having flaws. In a way, it’s completely understandable. This usually happens with characters that we want the audience to like. And as writers, we think that the audience will judge those flaws and consequently the character. So we try to make the character flawless. The irony is that that’s exactly what makes characters unappealing and annoying.
To be clear
There is nothing *wrong* with creating a flawless character, especially in a romantic comedy. It will give the story a touch of melodrama and there will still be plenty of people people who will enjoy it.
However, if you want me to like it, cough cough, I mean, if you want to improve the story, make it more complex and interesting, give that character a flaw. Any flaw. Something that he needs to realise about himself. Something that isn’t just suffering out of the goodness of his heart or out of pure love. That way, the character’s journey from the beginning to the end of the story will truly be transformational and worth witnessing.
What do you think?
Do you like flawless characters? What is your biggest character pet peeve (from any genre)?
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