Today's post has been inspired by Diane Carlisle, a fellow writer, blogger, and Absolute Write member. Before deciding what to post today, I read her latest blog entry which discusses character wounds and why they are important. If you have a chance, you really should check out her post.
Anyway, her post got me thinking about character traits in general. I've seen many discussions about the dreaded "Mary Sue's" of fiction. You know the girls who are beautiful, multi-talented just because, have perfect families, perfect friends, their whole lives are perfect perfect perfect. They make you want to gag, right? Now take the same girl, tells us her mom is obsessed with the perfect image and forces her to diet and get plastic surgery, her dad's tells her she's worthless and so she keeps adding to her list of talents in hopes of pleasing him, and all she really wants to do is buy a box of twinkies and run away with the goth guy down the road. Okay, that's a crazy example but you get the point. Readers need a reason to care about the characters. As human being we are not perfect, so how can we identify with a perfect MC? If I have a choice between a perfect MC and an MC who's been knocked down a few times but gets back up each time, I'll take the latter any day.
Most readers feel the same. And that is why getting a character right is so important. There has to be a nice mix of good qualities and flaws/wounds/problems etc. A story can be ruined without that mix.
So, again, check out Diane's post. And if you'd like to add anything, feel free to leave a comment below!