I’m sure most of you relate to reading or watching something and mentally you are saying, “No! Don’t do that! Why are you doing that?”
I didn’t appreciate our flaws as humans until I really started paying attention to stories and plots. There is no such thing as a perfect person, and we cannot have perfect characters either.
They cannot say or do everything right. Maybe in the eyes of others, they are perceived this way, but as the author, WE need to know the flaws. We need to know what tempts the characters and their struggles. And then…we need to put that in the story.
It’s too easy to have the character always do the right thing. I don’t know if I have ever read a children’s story in which nothing was learned. So, why would we have a teen or adult novel do the same?
Lessons can be learned from flaws. It always makes the character…gasp…relatable!
We may get frustrated with people in books or shows doing things, but have you yourself or have you known someone to do something you shake your head at now?
Making mistakes helps the plot. It gives the story motivation to continue. It pushes the reader to wonder, “Well, now that this has happened…what happens because of this?”
A really decent cause and effect.
Especially for Christian storytellers, do not have perfect characters right from the get-go. It is all about learning and becoming better. Not only that…but not everyone does become better in life, and therefore, make sure you have characters that DO fail and DO fall into darkness.
Let the truth be the truth.
I have a test reader joke with me about how many people have lost friends and families in my series. I simply answered her with the fact, this is the world. Someone out there can relate to that. I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t exist.
Just because we are privileged to not know what it is like to be in that situation does not mean others don’t understand. Writing the novels and learning the stories of characters had really opened my eyes to the fact not everyone has a comfortable life.
It makes a good story. It makes decent development for both plot and characters. It reaches others. Have your characters make mistakes so others can grow with them and find hope. Have your characters fall into darkness as a warning to the readers.
I’m not saying scratch a happy ending.
But maybe not have a happy ending for everyone in the story, that kind of thing, not all the time at least.