Nobody is perfect and neither are your characters. Our flaws make us human and flaws make your characters more human and more real. Author Stephen J. Cannell says, "The flaws in a character are always more interesting than the strengths."
Many writers gather much of their material from their own lives (sometimes without realizing it). You already know some character flaws from living your life. You know your own weaknesses and you know the flaws of your friends and family members. You have seen people overcome their flaws and seen them fail. This life knowledge can be applied, adapted and modified for use in fiction. It can also be helpful to read up on personality flaws for inspiration and to get a deeper understanding of characterization.
A very basic 3-step look at character flaw arc in a story is this:
- Determine your character's flaw or flaws
- Put your character into situations where these flaws will be exacerbated and stressed.
- Figure out how your character is able to overcome their flaws to better themselves or save the day.
Character Flaws Resources
- Character Flaw Index - TV Tropes offer a huge character flaw index which descriptions and examples for each one.
- Character Flaws List - Dark World RPG offers a solid collection of character flaws with descriptions. Writers should stretch, mold and twist these flaws. As Dark World RPG notes, "there are infinite depths to character flaws, and many ways to make such flaws unique for your character."
- Flaws as Strengths: Flaws can be strengthens in certain situations. A Lifehack article list ten personality flaws that can make you highly successful in the modern world.
- The Seven Chief Features of Ego - descriptions of several main characters flaws or chief features and how they relate to each other.
- Designing the Character - Author and TV producer Stephen J. Cannell explains that all of his TV heroes were flawed.
- Flaws in Historical Figures - Boredom Therapy describes 20 historical figures that had flaws. They were known for their accomplishments but most had problems in their personal lives. Some were also hypocrites.
- Bible Character Flaws - Sermon Central lists twenty Bible heroes and their flaws or dysfunctions.
- Character Flaw Exmaples - Wikipedia's entry for "Character Flaw" provides examples from classic and popular literature, film and TV series of flawed characters. In some situations a character becomes a hero when they overcome or rise above a major flaw.
- 12 Fatal Flaws - Inc. magazine describes 12 major flaws that can derail leaders from succeeding in business. These flaws can be problematic in any situation and could assigned to a fictional character.
- Six Types of Character Flaws - An article from Mythcreants describes six types of character flaws in detail and how they can impact a character. They include aversion, fear, addiction, immorality, poor judgement and incompetence.