#AuthorToolbox 07: avoiding perfection

Via: Daily Prompt – Study & Loophole

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about sainted characters. It all started when I sat down to watch John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher success Halloween for the first time [yes, truly]. After a month-long Christmas movie binge, I was ready to shake things up a bit and, although fully prepared to be blown away by the cult classic that apparently gave birth to so many of my favorite horror movies from the 90’s, twenty minutes in, it had me rolling my eyes and sighing in exasperation. Jamie Lee Curtis is Mary Sue:

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Media: Giphy

The Virginal Barbie: Despite being all shiny and blonde with a great body, Curtis’s character Laurie is the shy girl-next-door who can’t bring herself to divulge her feelings to the boy she likes, making her the unattached dream girl who won’t give a man any lip.

The Sharpest Tool in the Shed: Not only is she at the top of every class, she’s probably also psychic. She is the first to notice the man-in-the-mask watching her and her friends as well as the only one who continues to sense his foreboding proximity throughout the movie.

A Goody-Two-Shoes: She can’t break rules properly even when she tries. The one time she allows herself to be peer-pressured into smoking a little pot, she ends up right in front of the sheriff. Though her transgression goes unnoticed, she chooses to walk the straight and narrow for the rest of the movie.

The Old Reliable: She always picks up the slack. She can be counted on to drop off keys to a real estate client for her father, make popcorn for her babysitting charge, and relieve her best friend from babysitting duty while the said best friend spends the night doing the dirty.

It’s Lonely at the Top: Early on in the movie, we see her experiencing all the teen angst that accompanies an austere lifestyle and become sympathetic to her plight.

A Badass Martyr: Even when the killer slices open her arm, her first lookout is to make sure the kids are safe, maternal instinct in guerilla warfare mode. And she’s pretty resourceful with a knitting needle too. Who doesn’t love a girl who can simultaneously knit and kick butt when called to action?

DIE, FEMINISM, DIE! But, even aside from the misogynistic rigmarole, that is a tall order for any character. And while I accept that, in horror movies, death following sex is expected, by the end of the movie, I was convinced that the only reason Laurie survived was that she didn’t show any skin. By the end of the movie, I wanted to throw her out the bedroom window. Sadly, while I believe the makers of Halloween intended Laurie to be The-Li’l-Lady-That-Could, fiction writers are equally prone to creating accidental Mary Sues. I would have to say, tar me with the same brush.

MY TOO-PERFECT CHARACTER

Only, mine was a Gary Stu. When I first started writing I’ll Be True in 2012, I understood little about structuring plots, developing characters, weaving conflicts, or building tension, etc. I was confident I had a voice and was often praised for my diction, which was good enough to publish the first draft of my story on a public platform, a.k.a. this blog. Besides, I was too hopeful that having an actual audience would cure me of my habit of abandoning stories before they were finished being written. Embarrassing as it is to admit, it wasn’t until I wrote the entire novel and read back all twenty-six chapters to myself that I realized my protagonist’s romantic interest, who also happened to be the second MC, was insufferably unspoiled.

tenor

Media: Tenor

Matthew Halls was a wish-fulfilling Mr. Perfect I had written when I was going through a rough patch in my longstanding relationship. He looked good on paper, was always the voice of reason, and had the luck of Indiana Jones with a heart the size of a blimp, talent oozing out of his pores, and sexual appeal enough to melt the staunchest woman’s core (which he promptly did). He had little in the way of challenges other than to convince the heroine that she loved him enough to call for a change in her attitude towards relationships. In other words, he was unreal, he had no character arc, and I was, literally, driven to tears of frustration. Worse, in the process of creating the perfect man, I committed the cardinal sin of treating my hero like a plot device. [His hideous magnificence remains unedited in my posts should anyone care to torture themselves]

WHY AVOID TOO-PERFECT CHARACTERS?

If the above examples of Mary Sue and Gary Stu do not convince, here’s how too-perfect protagonists may lead to bad fictions:

saintToo perfect to be human. Readers are everyday flawed people so a character who is free of flaws becomes unrealistic and one that is hard to relate to. Besides, it is very hard to sympathize with a holier-than-thou character in peril because they make us feel less than our best selves, so a reader would not feel as vested in seeing the character through to triumph.

No challenge too great. Too-perfect protagonists come with broad skillsets that make accomplishing goals and overcoming obstacles very easy for them and their one-dimensional quality boring for the readers. Plots are driven by conflicts and, with a Johnny-On-The-Spot, the tension never quite gets the opportunity to build up properly, which can cause the reader to disconnect too early.

Well, what’s there left to hope for? People want to read about ordinary characters persevere in extraordinary ways. A character in a similar or slightly better circumstances than the reader can motivate the reader’s aspirations towards life; conversely, a character who has all the assets one can desire to lead the perfect life might make a reader want to go to sleep and never wake up. After all, who can compete against Batman?

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Media: Me.Me.

To be fair to us, authors, it’s too tempting to write the too-perfect character. Even if we, ourselves, do not fit the mold of our ideal person [because, really, who does?], we wish to see it come alive somewhere – live [vicariously] a little. Writing heroes is also more comfortable than writing anti-heroes or villains because subconsciously we are worried how that might reflect on us as human beings. If we do remember to sand the edges by inserting a couple of character flaws, we are just as quick to make excuses for them. Should we write them real challenges, as creators, it is in our nature to mother them into victory.

At our worst self, we’re lazy and don’t want to sweat by putting in the level of thought and work hours necessary to clean up after a messy character: Stories are made of struggles; struggles need solving; someone’s gotta do it; why not Mary Sue? But every time we throw miracles in our character’s path, we are chiseling away at the compelling story we could be writing. As an outsider looking in, readers tend to discover conflicts sooner and notice opportunities for resolution faster than the characters themselves, which may prompt vexation in the reader but also cause them to hold on.

 

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Media: SpudComic

Think about it, how often have you groaned during the stairwell chase scene when the protagonist runs up the stairs to get away from the predator? It seems their gut instinct should be to run down and let gravity do most of the work as they look for the quickest exit from hell. Unless, of course, the character is Batman, in which case he wouldn’t be running or, if he did, he has probably already sent out a signal and the Batplane is waiting for him by the rooftop. As a kid, I had promised myself that I would learn to drive, ride a motorbike as well as a horse, and hotwire a car, just so if I ever needed to escape a villain, I would be all set. I haven’t yet learned to do any of that, am clinically overweight that I’m too lazy to remedy, and have low stamina that I blame on my intellectually-inclined personality. If my life was a novel and I a Girl Scout, I’d be the first to be eaten by a bear during camp. So… obviously not the protagonist of my own story.

 

HOW TO AVOID WRITING TOO-PERFECT CHARACTERS?

The good news is, if caught in time, an author can put a flawless character back in his box. It requires careful examination and takes a few nips and tucks to fix perfection but it can be done:

Give. Them. Flaws. Well, that’s obvious, but here are a few tips to remember as you do –

  • It’s best not to depend on flaws that are superficial or an in indirect praise such as a crooked nose (who’re you kidding; you know that’s sexy) or being a total klutz (wasn’t Meg Ryan absolutely adorable in French Kiss). The surest way to make the flaw compelling for the readers is to ensure that it is mired in the character’s past and has had time to fester to become a real problem.
  • The flaw shouldn’t be too blatant or exaggerated. Flaws lose credibility when demonstrated in absolute so they should never be dealt as such, unless the intention is to mock. Most people work in gray areas and so should the character’s flaws. Only sociopaths are completely sure of themselves all the time.
  • The flaw needs to be persistent until the character learns to reign it in, which should happen at approximately the same time as the plot reaches resolution. The last thing the story needs is the narrator telling the reader about the character’s flaw but when the time comes to show, the character works in an opposite manner.
  • A flaw that connects back to the central conflict in the plot is a great flaw. Flaws bear significance to the story when they cause the character to take a misstep that challenges their goals.

For that matter, stop fixating on their endowments. Yeah, yeah, he’s hot-stuff but must she swoon every time he walks into the room? The more words are spent describing the protagonist’s pros, the less time is used to show their cons.

Turn their strengths into a source of weakness. Shakespeare was a genius in romanticizing flaws. The same qualities that would establish a character as a hero in the beginning of a play would cause their tragic demise by the end. E.g. the bravery and determination that returns Macbeth victorious from war transforms into unchecked ambition where he kills the king he swore to serve before turning mad with guilt and paranoia, which eventually leads to a bloodbath under his tyrannical rule and then his death.

Make them do something you find truly objectionable. This may even be out of character where the one time they do something wrong, they get caught and then are left picking up the pieces for the rest of the story.

Put them back in the real world. The universe, even one existing in a fantasy, is governed by its own laws, which no character is above. As such, when the character defies the rules of this universe, there should be repercussions for the character to deal with. Their actions will have an effect on other characters just as they must be affected by it.

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Media: Giphy

Avoid deus ex machinas. Remember that one time when we were driving down the I-10 and were almost abducted by aliens but then a pterodactyl swooped in and ate the aliens before flying off into the sunset? Yeah, never happened. Not even on The X-Files. Sudden supreme forces that step in without preamble to save the day for the protagonist just make the plot ridiculous.

Pass some of your character’s skills to others. The protagonist can’t be an expert on everything or be everywhere at the same time – nor should you ask them of it. Instead, insert other characters into the story who are able to take over some of the protagonist’s responsibilities. Even Harry had Ron and Hermione; and Dumbledore and the Order of Phoenix and the DA and Snape and a bunch of other dead guys, etc.

What I’m trying to say is, in case you lost the plot in that circuitous ramble, unless you have decided that a Mary Sue/Gary Stu works for your story, they best be avoided. But, hey! as the original Mary Sue was written as a satire to parody the unrealistic heroines in some of the early Star Trek fanfictions, sometimes they can be the key ingredient to a successful story.

Whew! My obvious flaw is the inability to edit because this has gone on for long enough. But I would love to read about what are your thoughts on too-perfect characters.

Perhaps there is a Mary Sue that you feel spoiled a story for you or one that worked out really well? Or, like me, maybe you once wrote a Gary Stu who you eventually had to kill but who imparted you with great insight before his death?

 

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Finally, a word on the Author Toolbox Blog Hop:
#AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event, hosted by the gracious Raimey Gallant, featuring various resources and learnings for authors written by authors. It is open to writers at all stages of their careers and the rules of sign-up are available in the overhead link. Also, if you are just interested in connecting with actual authors and see what they have got to say, the sign-up page has a list of participants to direct you to their pages. Happy reading and writing, fellow authors!

 

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  1. #1 by jrusoloward on January 16, 2018 - 8:17 pm

    Thank you! This is so hard to remember that are characters are human, and thus flawed. I wonder if it’s because we’re creating the person and trying to make them likable, but forget that no one likes Little Miss / Mister Perfect. We like the lopsided smile, and the scruffy sneakers in real life. We all loose our temper, etc. Even Mary Poppins was only practically perfect, lol!

    The one thing that bothers me is the typical female characters in romance. Yes, they have their flaws, but often are good people who accept the way they’re unfairly treated. Perhaps I’m reading the wrong romances, but 9 times out of 10 I feel the characters around the heroine deserve a well placed kick and a not so lady like talking to.

    • #2 by lupa08 on January 16, 2018 - 9:50 pm

      Thank you for reading 🙂 Since Matthew Halls, I learned my lesson not to dive face first into writing a novel without some outlines and mindmaps in place on the characters and plot.

      I think I understand what you mean about doormat romance heroines. In the 70’s, around the second Feminist movement, when authors like Kathleen Woodiwiss and the likes began the cult of romances, it was a giant step for female writers towards opening up about their occupational aspirations and sexuality – yet, the romance writers of the time always put the heroines in very restrictive roles that they had to be rescued from by the hero (typical damsel in distress stories) but in which the hero would in his own way keep the heroine under his thumbs but that was okay because – woohoo! the great sex! Fortunately, more adult romance novels today profile female characters who don’t let anyone push them around and have learned to rescue themselves. However, I also have read a few YA romances lately where the teen heroine is mistreated and it is then her role to rise above the situation. I don’t know if that is because teenagers are generally more angsty and need the time to find their footing and the authors are trying to capture that or the objective is to share survival skills with the target audience or what. I truly would like to see the effects on the audience itself.

  2. #3 by Kester James Finley on January 16, 2018 - 8:56 pm

    Reblogged this on The Angry Scribbler.

    • #4 by lupa08 on January 16, 2018 - 9:50 pm

      Thank you! You’re too kind 😀

  3. #5 by Kester James Finley on January 16, 2018 - 8:58 pm

    Great tips, thanks for sharing! 😀

    • #6 by lupa08 on January 16, 2018 - 9:52 pm

      You’re welcome. Thank you for reading 🙂

  4. #7 by Louise Foerster on January 16, 2018 - 9:55 pm

    Fantastic perspective — so useful and a joy to read. Yup, I have the same reaction to the characters who swoon every single time he walks in the room, run up the stairs rather than down and away to safety, go maternal instinct instead of self-preservation when facing a madman. Great piece — thanks for sharing!

    • #8 by lupa08 on January 17, 2018 - 1:11 pm

      Thank you, Louise! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
      The maternal instinct was the only expectation from her character in the movie that I didn’t find wholly outlandish, lol.

  5. #9 by Cheryl Sterling on January 16, 2018 - 11:31 pm

    A wealth of information on character development, and I bow to you. For each character I write, I try to pick on trait that sounds good on the surface (i.e. loyalty) but is a flaw (blind loyalty). The only Gary Stu I’ve written is in my last WIP, but he’s off stage, and appears through memories and letters. It’s important for the plot that he be super perfect.
    Thanks for sharing. I’m bookmarking and Pinning.

    • #10 by lupa08 on January 17, 2018 - 4:30 pm

      Thank you, Cheryl, for your kind words and actions. I like to do that also, i.e. take a strength and turn it into a source of weakness/challenge; it’s my plan for Matthew. I am still working on it but hope to someday publish the story as the first book in a romance series. I hope keeping his original version up on my blog will help some writers compare the progress in his character development once the book is out.

  6. #11 by raimeygallant on January 16, 2018 - 11:46 pm

    What a great post! Now I need to go back and take a look at my new protag, because I feel like she needs another flaw. She has them, but they haven’t surfaced yet, and I’m a fair way into the book. Hmmm…now you’ve made me think!

    • #12 by lupa08 on January 17, 2018 - 4:18 pm

      I know how you feel about needing to go back and check. When I was just a reader, though I remained in awe of authors who could write these fascinating synergic worlds, I never really thought about the level of work that must go into creating them. Naively, I believed it only took great imagination and good grammar. I know better now. How many drafts before a story becomes worthy of publication? I have to keep going back to make sure I’m not dumping too much backstory in my expositions or that the character motivations make sense or that they have enough flaws or that their voice is distinct and consistent or that I’m not preaching through them. That’s just on character development, never mind the rules to follow when constructing the plot! Sometimes, I wish there was just a checklist to follow like when I used to organize promotion launch events for the hotels I worked in.

  7. #13 by Robyn on January 17, 2018 - 7:47 am

    Lots of good things to think about! I always have to like the characters of the books I am reading for me to care about the book – but I want them to be human too. Flaws are important!

    • #14 by lupa08 on January 17, 2018 - 4:02 pm

      Thank you! They are. Especially at bring the characters closer to ourselves as people.

  8. #15 by Erika Beebe on January 17, 2018 - 10:36 am

    I think my favorite part you mentioned is the human aspect in character. We all learn. People want to relate to a character. The best way to do that is to build the flaws in and let them fall time after time and time. That way we readers and writers don’t feel so stupid or alone 🙂

    • #16 by lupa08 on January 17, 2018 - 5:06 pm

      Thank you 🙂 It is the aspect that, I feel, drew me to books and made me want to become an author. Stories restore my faith in humanity when current events so often try to tear it down.

  9. #17 by Louise@DragonspireUK on January 17, 2018 - 4:11 pm

    Some great points, particularly ‘Make them do something you find objectionable.’ That one really appeals to me for some reason 🙂

    I don’t seem to have an issue writing flawed characters, probably because I love them and my favourite stories involve lots of character development. All my characters grow as their stories progress.

    One thing I do have to watch out for is overuse of a flaw. Most of my characters had issues relating to dead or absent fathers. I had to change things up a bit there to avoid repetition!

    • #18 by lupa08 on January 17, 2018 - 5:39 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

      Perhaps you like the idea of making characters do objectionable things because it allows you to vent your own need to go against the grain sometimes? ;p

      It’s great that you remember to allow your characters’ flaws breathe so that the arc blossoms over the course of the story. My problem with flaws has been to do something with the flaw after I have stated that they exist.

      • #19 by Louise@DragonspireUK on January 17, 2018 - 11:53 pm

        Sounds about right haha 🙂 My characters break all the rules I can’t: Sneaking into museums after closing time, racing through the streets knocking over fruit stands. Troublemakers and rule breakers the lot of them 😛

        I make my character flaws intrinsic to the plot, where I can, so I can’t do anything but address them in the story.

      • #20 by lupa08 on January 18, 2018 - 1:38 am

        Your characters ARE enjoying themselves. I don’t know about knocking over fruit carts but spending A Night at the Museum? Who would pass of that opportunity? Lol!

  10. #21 by Caroliena Cabada on January 17, 2018 - 7:12 pm

    Writing flawed characters is something I struggle with as well. I like to think that the flaws come naturally as I write, but there are times when I realize that I’ve given a particular character too many abilities or positive traits. On the flip side, though, I also have a terrible habit of making really unlikeable characters; I go too far in giving them flaws, or at least in exposing their flaws, that readers can’t get into the story. It’s a tough balance, but I’ll keep this post in mind when trying to create complex characters. Thank you for sharing!

    • #22 by lupa08 on January 17, 2018 - 7:51 pm

      Yes, human beings are defined by their wills, through their ability to do both good and evil. Hence, writing characters who exist in that grey area makes for stories that provoke contemplation, a reassessment of what we are doing with our lives. The 2008-2011 BBC adaptation of Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford accomplished that precisely. Though the series deviated from the original literature, it brought out characters in their most flawed and superior selves. I recommend it to anyone who wants to see characters flourish in the grey.

  11. #23 by Megan Morgan on January 17, 2018 - 7:59 pm

    I love this! Too-perfect characters are definitely an annoyance. I want to see a character in all their raw, imperfect awkwardness, hopefully with a few traits that I can, if not identify with, then at least understand. I had never thought about Batman that way, but you’re totally right–he’s rich, he’s perfect, he fights crime! And of course he has a little tragic backstory to wring the tears.

    Great post, with lots of great advice!

    • #24 by lupa08 on January 17, 2018 - 8:18 pm

      Thank you for reading 😊
      Batman is my favorite superhero among the DC Comics characters. And, yes, his tragic past which initiated his vigilante lifestyle is tragic and so is his inability to allow anyone but Alfred get close to him as a result of it. However, I have for some time now come to realize that his flaw isn’t an inability to live beyond his loss but his choice not to. But then, if he did, the story would have long ago petered off.

  12. #25 by M.L. Keller on January 17, 2018 - 10:47 pm

    I find I have difficulty giving my characters flaws because my beta readers think the flaw makes the character unlikable. I find this is more true with female characters. A guy who feels like he must do everything alone is a somehow sympathetic (the loner who had been hurt in the past), but a woman who does the same is a stuck up B–.
    Definitely a double standard

    • #26 by lupa08 on January 18, 2018 - 1:26 am

      I can see that happening. In many YA novels today, the flaw for the female character is still defined as the physical thing, such as she’s the school dork while the hero is the star athlete who looks like a demigod. But I sense that times are changing too, that the overall standards for what makes a hero/heroine is changing. We have come a long way from the days when the girl got sold to a lech by the evil aunt and the hero bought back the girl to save her then took advantage of her plight but because the sex is great she remains beholden to him (The Flower and the Flame). Now, the heroine can be the pushover who has to learn to navigate the cutthroat world of fashion by losing a bit of her innocence and soul to the demanding boss who is the queen that makes or breaks careers in the industry while the “hero” is little more than a reminder of simpler life (The Devil Wears Prada). I think if authors keep pushing the boundaries then someday womenkind will truly be free of double standards. We just need to plod on.
      Thank you for reading 😊

  13. #27 by Chrys Fey on January 18, 2018 - 1:02 am

    I LOVE to give my characters flaws and to make them struggle…and suffer. *insert evil laugh here* But I’m sure that there is some level of perfection to my characters because, by the end of the story, they have to grow and defeat whatever obstacles that I set out for them. In a way, that could be looked at as making them “perfect,” especially if they continue to come out the other side, like with my Disaster Crimes series where my characters survive disasters and crimes. lol But they are worse for the wear after all that. 😛

    • #28 by lupa08 on January 18, 2018 - 1:42 am

      It sounds more like your characters are obtaining perfection by overcoming the challenges that befall them – well, that’s what storytelling is all about so I think you’re safe 😃
      Thank you for reading!

  14. #29 by emaginette on January 18, 2018 - 2:26 am

    The only thing I know about perfect people/characters is that something is wrong. No doubt the issue that makes them less than perfect is hidden somewhere: their past, their closet, under their clothes or somewhere deep in their minds.

    Opens up a door if you ask me. In Jamie Lee’s case the man in the mask is her brother. Not something that is shared until H20 when characters needed more motivation.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    • #30 by lupa08 on January 18, 2018 - 3:08 am

      Haha! I’m suddenly reminded of a Sex and the City episode where Carrie is dating a great guy (one a little too great for her) and the moment he leaves her in his apartment, she pounces on his possessions to discover his secret but then he returns too early and breaks up with her for being a freak. But you’re right, anyone seemingly perfect probably is a sociopath. 😂

      I would be annoyed with you for spoiling the sequels but I doubt I would have strolled down that garden anymore. 😝

      • #31 by emaginette on January 18, 2018 - 3:45 am

        I had a feeling…

      • #32 by lupa08 on January 18, 2018 - 2:12 pm

        Yes, it’s no great loss.

  15. #33 by Iola Goulton on January 18, 2018 - 3:32 am

    I’ve been stalled on my current WIP since I realised my hero was a Gary Stu. I know I need to fix it, but how? Now I’ve read this, I have some ideas … *rubs hands in glee*

    Thank you!

    • #34 by lupa08 on January 18, 2018 - 3:13 pm

      Haha! I’m glad you have found your angle! Happy to be of assistance. Good luck! And thank you for reading…

  16. #35 by Crystal Collier on January 18, 2018 - 3:37 am

    Such great advice and something we’re probably all guilty of on a regular basis. I find my characters start out too perfect, but the longer I’m with them, the more I see their underbelly, and thus the buttons to push in the story. But still, I prefer characters who are TRYING to do the best with who they are and what they’ve been given, even if they aren’t saints.

    • #36 by lupa08 on January 18, 2018 - 3:16 pm

      Thank you for reading 🙂
      Yes, the essence of storytelling is showing how the characters try to make the most of what they have and rise above their constraints. They inspire us and make us feel good about our specie.

  17. #37 by jerapub on January 18, 2018 - 4:02 am

    This is spot on. I will be sure to share it with my readers!

    • #38 by lupa08 on January 18, 2018 - 3:28 pm

      Thank you for reading and for thinking it good enough for your readers! 🙂

  18. #39 by stephanieheijkoopedition on January 18, 2018 - 6:52 am

    Some excellent points there. I fall in love with my characters before I’m done with the first chapter. Maybe I think about them too much…. 🙂

    • #40 by lupa08 on January 18, 2018 - 3:42 pm

      Tell me about it. I’m still in love with Matthew Halls in all his perfect glory. He won’t make for robust reading but it doesn’t hurt to dream about the prototype ;p
      Thank you for reading!

  19. #41 by E.M.A. Timar on January 18, 2018 - 11:10 am

    Great ideas on how to muddy up a perfect protagonist. Of course, sadly, I think you made it even less appealing to watch Halloween than it already was for me. Well, that just means more time to write. Thanks for your insight and advice.

    • #42 by lupa08 on January 18, 2018 - 3:59 pm

      Thank you for reading 🙂 And I’m sorry about Halloween; great about you having more time to write though, lol!

  20. #43 by WriterDrew on January 19, 2018 - 12:01 pm

    Since I put so much of myself into my main character, I’m often worried that he would be seen as a Gary Stu. Hopefully, I’ve left enough flaws to prevent that. And, if on re-reading it seems I haven’t, I now know where to come to get some suggestion on how to fix it. Thank you

    • #44 by lupa08 on January 21, 2018 - 7:41 pm

      I know how tempting it can be to show our heroes/heroines in their best light and am only too happy to be of any use to a fellow writer. Thank you for reading 😊

  21. #45 by lyndleloo on January 24, 2018 - 12:13 am

    Fun fact: my husband’s name is Matthew Hall 🙂 he’s definitely no Gary Stu tho. I worry about my protagonist being a bit too perfect, I’m going to have to reread through my finished MS and make sure she has enough flaws to make her believable and relatable. Thanks for the tips, they’re really useful 🙂

    • #46 by lupa08 on January 24, 2018 - 12:49 am

      No way! I promise I googled the name back in 2012 when I started writing, 😂 Although my character’s last name is Halls.

      And oh goodness! Just googled ‘Matthew Halls’ again and the news isn’t exactly palatable 😳 A bit of a character crisis this.

      Well, at least I hope my article comes into proper use 😅 Thank you for reading!

      • #47 by lyndleloo on January 24, 2018 - 12:57 am

        Oh no should I Google it too? At least we’re just Hall so if he’s a bad guy it’s not my husband 😂

      • #48 by lupa08 on January 24, 2018 - 1:24 am

        No, he’s definitely a HallS. You dodged a bullet there. 😝

  22. #49 by lupa08 on January 26, 2018 - 3:26 am

    Aww… Thanks, sweetie! ❤️🙏

  23. #50 by lupa08 on February 9, 2018 - 10:16 pm

    Thanks! 😊

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