Crafting great characters, in my experience, is all about flaws. Nobody wants to read about someone who his perfect and all-powerful in every respect. Even superman has kryptonite.
But it's very difficult to determine what kind of flaws will be the most interesting ones. For example, I hadn't quite reckoned on the stinginess of Mr Ambrose from "Storm and Silence" to become such a popular attribute.
For the fantasy novel I am planning, finding faults for characters will be particularly important. Why?
Take "Game of Thrones" characters, for instance. You can hardly find characters that have more ruthless, crazy and fabulous collections of flaws in the whole of literature. And while that is an extreme example, characters in fantasy novels tend to have somewhat more flaws than the average character from a contemporary romance.
Lawlessness, rough justice, magic, wildly differing moral backgrounds – all these aspects of a fantasy novel practically guarantee that there will be lots of juicy conflict and contrast.
I could, of course, pick some myths and histories I'm familiar with as inspiration for my characters. But I don't want to approach this wearing glasses through which I can see only European myths and history. One of all-time-favorites from the Fantasy genre, is Avatar: The Last Airbender (not to be confused with the Hollywood movie Avatar). And the reason why it was so intriguing was because it was built mostly on Asian and Inuit culture. It taught me that there are great possibilities for fantasy worlds out there I didn't yet know about.
So, today I have three questions for you, my dear Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen:
1. What kind of character flaws, in your personal experience, can be most endearing, or horribly annoying? You are welcome to rant, but please don't name names ;-)
2. Is there any myth or historical period in your country/area that features fascinatingly flawed characters, but has received little international attention? If so, tell me a little about them, please! :)
3. Do you share my dislike of fantasy novels that do little more than emulate a medieval European world? If so, what gets most on your nerves and why?
I'm eagerly awaiting your feedback! :)
And, next time... countries!
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Sir Rob's World-Building WorkshopRandom
Welcome to Sir Rob's World-Building Workshop! Would you like to be part of building Sir Rob's next fictional realm? Then join him on his journey and let's make a wacky world of wonder! (This is not an actual story. It's a workshop. So if you're alle...