Pixar’s Rule #13
Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
Perfection doesn’t mean the character is perfect—without flaw. Those kinds of people just don’t exist. Real people have flaws, they say the wrong things and they do the wrong thing. Sometimes no matter how much you yell at them or give them advice they travel down the wrong path and end up some place horrible. And that is okay—better than okay, they learn things. Those are the things that make them enduring, likeable, and believable.
Those ‘plastic’ girls in high school were never the girls you wanted to hang out with, they were the ones you made fun of. They floated through life without a hitch. Everything handed to them on a silver platter. They never said the wrong thing and worked very hard not to make any waves. They liked everyone and tried to keep everyone happy. Yuck! Gag! Where is the fun in that? You may have secretly wished you had a touch of their luck, at times, but did you really want to walk in their perfectly un-scuffed high heels—no. You wanted to be that badass girl slightly on the outs, who said and did exactly what she thought. And guess what? That ‘plastic’ girl, she wished she was her every night as she hung over the toilet with stomach cramps, because she suppressed every one of her true feelings.
In writing, you want to use character traits that are admirable. You write about people who are real. If the character says something horrible about a girl, like she is a slut, prove her wrong. Make her feel horrible about her words and send her down a road to redemption for the wrong she has done. You want to see the characters grow. Don’t just let them go around burning bridges like crazy that is just insane, but give them flaws. Keep them likeable. They do need a conscious.
Perfection. Flawless. Wonderful. These are poison to a writer. No one wants to read about things that aren’t relatable. Sometimes we just want to feel better about ourselves by seeing these flaws in others. We want believable. Make them perfect because of their imperfections.
Are your favorite characters flawless? Or are they flawed?
Also, all of you should check out the posts from my blogging friends who are doing this challenge with me! The first posts go up today. Links to Kate Brauning, Talynn Lynn, Mary Pat, and Alex Yuschik’s blogs are located on the side bar.
We’d love to see comments on our post and share anything you enjoy. Thank you for reading!