Protagonist's Positive and Negative Traits

thumbs upOur characters have positive and negative traits like people do. As writers we give characters flaws to prevent the protagonist from being too perfect. Some writers are afraid to do anything that might make the hero or heroine less likable. But the character who exhibits flaws is more believable, more human. Their flaws often  worsen the conflict and can keep their actions unpredictable at times. Make the flaw part of the cause that thwarts the character’s goal. The protagonist’s awareness of the effect of the flaw can spark a desire to overcome it and that change  becomes part of the character arc.

The positive traits are endearing to the readers and create the emotional impact when the character struggles.The readers relate to the situation, live it through the protagonist, and experience what it would be like if that happened to them.

What is your protagonist’s flaw?

Is his or her best trait one that you have or wish you had?

My protagonist, Jill Steele in Norman in the Painting, has a constant battle between fear and desire. Her need for security and safety is challenged with her desire to be with Norman. Her best trait is loyalty and it’s one of mine too.


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For over twenty-five years, I've taught elementary grades, high school, and county special education classes. Now I am a field supervisor for teachers working toward their teaching credentials. I also teach writing classes in Dublin and Pleasanton, California. I have won 5 awards in short story contests, My stories are published in The California Writers Club Literary Review, and several anthologies including four times in Las Positas College collections. I have several book projects, but the two that have my immediate attention are HADA'S FOG, which is women's fiction, LILLI, a YA novel, and NORMAN IN THE PICTURE, a paranormal mystery. I have published an anthology WRITTEN ACROSS THE GENRES that includes writings from members of my writing classes and other writers. It's available on Amazon and Kindle.

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