Your Hero’s Kryptonite by Hannah

Weakness is what makes us human. Without weakness, our lives would be boring. We wouldn’t struggle at our Presidential Fitness Tests, or fail to make straight A’s in class. Without a little imperfection, we wouldn’t be unique. For without our weakness, we would not have our strengths, either.

          It’s important to make your character flawed in some way, unless you’re really aiming for a Mr./Mrs. Perfect that the other characters can laugh at/look up to, or whatever you have in mind. But to be honest, if your character doesn’t have a problem with skydiving off a plane before diving into the Marianna Trench, or jumping through a wall of fire to tackle a Mafia leader from launching a nuclear missile, then your character might be OP, or overpowered. Now, these two situations are a bit dramatic, but that’s the point, right? If your character didn’t have a weakness, then what would your character’s limits be? There wouldn’t be any. Any conflict in the story would seem meaningless, because the reader knows that your character could knock his opponent off his feet no problem at any given time. This is why we create flaws in the characters. It could be as little as a bit of caution towards crossing the road, to panophobia (fear of everything), to being vertically challenged. It’s also nice to have more than one weakness. This helps to create a more in-depth or life-like character.

          This doesn’t just work in action novels; it works in romance too. Giving your character a weakness allows the person of interest to either share that weakness, thus finding a point of common ground, or possess a strength that will balance out his/her partner’s weakness.

          Bottom line, make sure that your characters aren’t invincible. Give them flaws, and weaknesses, and make them a little more human. This not only helps intensify conflict, but also gives the character time to overcome the power of their Kryptonite, and become a hero.

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Posted on May 24, 2015, in Editorial Board Essay. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Your Hero’s Kryptonite by Hannah.

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