What is my character’s flaw? (Step 2)

Step Two is to describe my character’s flaw:  what is the internal flaw that will undermine, even sabotage, her ability to achieve her goal?  How will she resolve it?

As I mentioned in the previous post, working out my character’s flaw helped me see that the goal I’d crafted for her was not quite precise enough and didn’t add much to the overall flow of the story.  So I spent more time tinkering with both the goal and the flaw to see if they could be sharpened a bit more.

My character’s flaw is her desire, even need, to be in control, particularly of her family.  Focused on achieving her vision of a harmonious, loving family circle, she can struggle to accept that others may have interests that diverge from her own, particularly when those interests conflict with her vision of the ideal way things should be.  As a result, she often tries to remold them into what she thinks they ought to be and do, all with the aim of moving the family toward her goal.

  • It is not enough that her husband cheerfully does any task that she gives him; instead, she wants him to anticipate her wishes and take the initiative to do what (in her view) he ought to know needs to be done or that she will want him to do.
  • She appreciates the time her son spends with her but feels sidelined when he increasingly seeks the approval of his father, with whom he feels a greater (and growing) affinity.
  • She wants to be close to her young daughter but is annoyed by the girl’s creative imagination and preference for playing alone, sometimes with imaginary friends and pets, rather than with her mother.

The more my character feels frustrated by her family’s drift away from her vision of her ideal world, the more hovering and directive she becomes as she fears her core goal may be slipping from her grasp.  She is blind to the fact that her efforts to control and manage them are undermining the very closeness she desires.

Now, on to Step Three:  What is the setting of the beginning part of the story?  The setting can be a physical setting or a circumstantial setting (for instance, something that relates more to the health of the main character rather than to his or her physical home).  Off now to get started on this!

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