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More Metaphore Examples: The Metamorphosis
July 1, 2015

Character Defects: Creating Believable Characters

cast of characters

Character defects are one of the best ways to make your characters more human and, at the same time, create very powerful drama.

No one is perfect and the most perfect hero or the most evil villain just doesn’t exist and would not be believed by your readers.

Defects make the characters more like us and, therefore, more believable.

Let’s take a look.

Physical Defects

cyranoHow can physical defects make characters more believable?

How can physical defects make the drama more compelling?

Let’s take a look at the love story of Cyrano De Bergerac. A nobleman and soldier, he is a man of many talents, a gifted poet, a musician and a brave duelist.

Sounds dreamy doesn’t he ladies?

But, his nose is so large that he feels himself to be ugly and misshapen and unable to be loved.


That’s a pretty good plot question. How will this guy ever get the girl?

And, the drama takes off from there.

Or, Better Yet!

quasimodoQuasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Cyrano’s desire for love was poignant. But, the desire for love becomes even more poignant and more dramatic when the abyss separating the two lovers is even greater.

Cyrano just had a big nose but Quasimodo is, sadly, a downright monstrosity whose love for the beautiful Esmeralda is unrequited and they are only united in death.

Whose heart wouldn’t go out to him?

What reader wouldn’t be compelled to find out what happens next?

Moral Defects

Or, perhaps you have a hero who is leading a group of people toward a common goal.

OK, Moses leading the Hebrews through the desert, King Richard in the Crusades, George Washington crossing the Delaware River…Gee, that’s never happened before.


Leaders of high moral standing get pretty boring pretty quickly.

But Wait! What About…

ahabPerhaps he is a Quaker, a man spiritually dedicated to peace. But, he’s got a single minded desire for revenge upon a whale.

He will even risk the destruction of his ship and the death of his crew.

This is Captain Ahab in Moby Dick. It would be a completely different book without this deep flaw in his character.

And, where would A Streetcar Named Desire be if idealistic and delusional Blanche Dubois isn’t drawn, like a moth to the flame, to be raped by her own sister’s husband?

While we might not be as bad as Stanley Kowalski, none of us is perfect and it is our moral defects that make for compelling drama.


stanley kowalskiThe List Of Character Defects Goes On And On

Emotional, spiritual, psychological, the list of character defects is endless.

It doesn’t matter exactly what they are but it is important that you understand how valuable they are to creating compelling drama. Entire plots can spring from a couple simple character defects or wither away without their presence.

Can you see how conflict, suspense, action and all sorts of drama arise from the seemingly simple thing of a character defect?

Click here for a coupon on how to Create Fictional Characters People Pay Money To Read.

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About Jim Conway

Author and Udemy Course Instructor. About me; http://www.e-novel-advisor.com/about-me.html Udemy; https://www.udemy.com/user/jimconway2/

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