I sometimes think that we make our MCs a bit too perfect to be believed.


It is probably a hangover from movie experiences, where our heroes can take a shot in the gut or shoulder, and still win the fight.  Or our super-realistic characters always know all there is about this or that… or can guess someone’s password and work their way into a deep-cover website with a few clicks.

This idea came to mind when I began reading Ian Flemming’s James Bond novels.  Yes, I’ve seen all the movies, heard all the glib retorts, watched all the womanizing.  James Bond is perfect.  In the movies, anyway.

But Ian Flemming knew something about writing.  HIS take on James Bond isn’t so nice.  In the books, 007 is a cold-blooded misogynist who has only one real use for the female gender.

Now, before you get up in arms about this, I’m talking about a flawed character.

And, my friends, I believe flaws in the characters of your more important characters are the spice that makes the bland food appetizing.

Are your characters just cardboard cutouts?  Do they have flaws?  Do they in some way annoy your reader?

OK, OK.  Perhaps they don’t really need to be annoying… but they also don’t need to be perfect.

As for me, I’d rather they not be perfect at all.

(By the way, the James Bond books – the first 15, at least – are available as audio books, and are amazingly close to the films, but they provide a lot more information about the character.)