Wow. Wow! WOW!
Question: Ever wonder how to create that most amazing of characters? The ones that no one can stop thinking about, talking about, dreaming about…wanting to be?
Answer: Yeah. Me, too. So…I went looking for inspiration around “Fatal Flaws,” because face it…if you don’t have a flaw, you just don’t work as a character.
What I found was an article written by Dara Marks at Writers Store, titled:
The Fatal Flaw – The Most Essential Element for Bringing Characters to Life
Here are my notes, followed by links to the article and Dara Marks’ website.
The Life-Cycle in Nature matters.
Without change, we are stagnant and headed toward death or irrelevancy.
Nothing in nature exists without change. Therefore, by refusing to change, we enter a state of resistance to life, which cannot last.
No one wants to read about a character who is headed no where…unless they eventually end up somewhere. And that requires internal change.
The Fatal Flaw
Change in the character keeps her alive, worth reading about, interesting, emotionally important. Change comes about when an external pressure rubs up against an aspect of her internal self that will prevent her success…forcing her to choose. Change? Or become irrelevant?
Constancy of The Fatal Flaw
It takes awhile for a deeply embedded way of being to change, and the ONLY reason there is tension between the character and her external circumstance is because she does not YET have the necessary skills to overcome the challenge.
In this way, for the author…the Fatal Flaw guides, informs, and empowers much of our story creation.
Dead Poets Society
Dara Marks goes on to outline theme, thematic point of view, subplot, fatal flaw, and character traits for Dead Poets Society. I suggest taking your current project and comparing it side by side with her outline!
Most importantly, you must explore the final section of her article, with the heading: Turning Theme into Character
I’ll leave you with this…
Who feels the global tension in the air?
The sense of impending doom and pressure upon all of us?
The anxiety that permeates society at all levels, making tinder boxes of us?
All of this almost sub-conscious stress reflects a deep, animalistic awareness of what Dara Marks offers early on in this article:
The FATAL FLAW is a struggle
within a character to maintain a survival system
long after it has outlived its usefulness.
If we replace “character” with “society,” it explains a lot, don’t you think?
Thank you, Dara Marks!
Find original sources here:
Dara Marks’ Website:
Don’t miss my previous authors! Archived here: www.voiceofvashon.org/prose-poetry-and-purpose