Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day Nine-- Characters so flawed that you just want to hug them and love them and call them George

So, my sister Heidi discovered the mother of all Easter Eggs in my writing--nearly all my main characters have some sort of sleeping issue... whether it's insomnia or talking in their sleep or something. That's a recurrent "flaw" in my characters, but it's not the only one. I really like my characters to have flaws. Most of them are insecure. Several of them have had horribly bad relationships in the past. I've written characters with OCD, agoraphobia, PTSD, migraines, blindness, schizophrenia, and paranoia. No one is perfect, and I like that... I like it a lot. It makes me really get into my characters to know that they're not perfect.

My current characters:

Sidra's father left their family for a woman and she's dealing with the grief of having cared about him once and being a daddy's girl while she despises the man he has become. She is a pyromaniac who feels like a reject at school where a bully has targeted her due to her father's poor choices. She's lonely and afraid to trust anyone. Sidra is easily distracted and spends a lot of her time daydreaming about fire--and then about Asher. Her autoshop teacher has modified his lesson plans to include lots of words that are related to fire just to keep her attention. Her high school vice-principal has the hots for her mom and is nearly encouraging her to misbehave just so he can meet her mom. They, Sidra and the VP, have an ongoing feud with minor pranks as a side plot. Plus, Sidra is hiding a massive secret in regards to her recent paintings of fires.

Asher is hiding an even bigger secret, and he's never even thought of having a normal life. He's been on autopilot since he was six and his mother died at the hands of pyrodemons and his father became insane for vengeance. He's been in training to become a pyrohunter ever since. It's made him feel like his father cared more about vengeance than him. His father has died so he has no way of making peace with that. He really likes Sidra, but he's desperately trying to go slow because the only decent bit of advice his father gave him is that when you meet someone you really want, you'll treat them differently. It's embarrassing for him that his shadowhound feeds off his excitement and keeps going crazy with nervous energy and excitement around Sidra.

So, those are my characters. I love their flaws and exploit them whenever possible.

Speaking of flaws, I'm deep in the land of disgusting sickness. My ears are killing me today, but I think it's just relayed pain from my throat. I've stuffed cotton in them, and it's so much better. Actually, I've got some major auditory sensory issues so it's nice to have noise blocked. It's sad but keeping the cotton in even after I'm better sounds good. If I could wake up without an alarm of some kind (or several alarms) I'd probably go back to wearing ear plugs at night. I'm weird, though... and grossly germy. I love the season of sickness.

On the bright side, I had an entire king-sized bed to myself and I slept wonderfully.

The downside--I had the bed to myself because I'm the queen of germs and gross snoring. C'est la vie. (Such is life--for those that haven't had random French thrown at them their whole lives. My parents both speak French so they've tried to teach us entirely in idioms and phrases. I can also mumble the words to Frere Jacques--though it sounds like nonsense in both English and French, and I might even be insulting someone's mother.)

Have a good Monday everyone!


  1. I took three years of high school French. Not anywhere near fluent, but I know my colors and numbers and how to say "I am going to the library" and "I would like some cheese." Both of those are not as random things as one might first think, considering how much I love libraries and cheese.

    I love flawed characters. They're so interesting and real.

  2. Your flawed characters sound interesting. Not sure I would like characters with so many emotional problems though. Sorry you're sick. Earaches are the worst. I love to have the king size bed to myself. Well if what was just me and the hubbie that would be nice too. The bed always seems to get full up as the boys wander in during the night and then I end up on the couch. Good times!

  3. Just to be clear--the list I posted was for different characters. If one character had ALL those problems, it would just be so sad.

    Diana, I do love cheese also. I may need to learn how to ask for cheese in a few different languages.

    Mary, my daughter was told, the night before, that she was not to come climb into bed with us because I was TOO sick. I'd never thought of being sick as having a bright side, but I got some GOOD sleep last night.

  4. Yay for flaws...because perfection is boring. Hello, Edward Cullen.

  5. I know all those flaws were for different characters, but their lives still sound like downers. I like to read to escape from reality. I did like the hunger games though and the Hate List so maybe I just need to broaden my tastes. I do think your book sounds cool though.

  6. I also love to write flawed characters who are still sympathetic. I agree that perfection is boring and I would much rather read about someone who is rough around the edges. My favorite thing about my current mc is her anxiety issues.

  7. Wendy, Flawed characters are the only kind. Because we real folk are flawed and we want it to be as close to real as it can be. Perfection is sooo overdone. :)

    The french is magnifique!

    Sorry you're sick. Get well soon! :)

  8. Come to think of it my books a downer through a lot of it. It's darker than I thought I would write too.

  9. Flawed characters are the best! They become more human that way, just like villians with something likable can grab you by the throat.

    One of my main characters has issues with sleeping. And eating. She just doesn't have the time for either.

    And I'm sorry to hear you're feeling under the weather. I'm sending you healthy vibes!

  10. Love flawed characters too! Makes me sound more normal than I am. And your character flaws sound marvelous. I'm really curious also about this Asher guy...hmmm. I love YA *sigh*